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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2016 Jan;84(1):85-91. doi: 10.1111/cen.12863. Epub 2015 Sep 14.

Long-term hormonal follow-up after human Puumala hantavirus infection.

Author information

Department of Internal Medicine, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Nordlab Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Ophthalmology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Virology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.



Nephropathia epidemica (NE) is a haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) caused by Puumala hantavirus (PUUV). Pituitary haemorrhage and hypopituitarism may complicate recovery from acute NE.


Forty-seven of our recent cohort of 58 NE patients volunteered to be re-examined in order to estimate the burden of hormonal deficiency 4 to 8 years after the acute illness. Two patients had suffered from pituitary haemorrhage, but many others exhibited pituitary oedema during their acute infection. In this study, we searched for symptoms of hormonal deficiency, performed hormonal laboratory screening, and most patients underwent pituitary MRI examination.


The pituitary size had diminished in all patients in whom MRI was performed (P < 0·001). One patient with acute phase haemorrhage had made a complete recovery while the other continued to require hormonal substitution. In addition, hormonal laboratory abnormalities were observed in nine other patients; these being attributable to several reasons, for example independent peripheral hormonal diseases, side effects of medication or other secondary causes such as obesity. None of them had signs of late-onset pituitary insufficiency caused by their previous NE. Health-related quality of life (mean and median 15D score) of patients was comparable to that of age-standardized general population.


None of our patients had developed obvious late-onset hypopituitarism despite of the fact that pituitary gland can be affected during acute NE. We recommend requesting a history of hantavirus infection whenever the possibility of pituitary dysfunction is suspected at least in patients originating from regions with high NE infection rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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