Empty sella of normal size in Sheehan's syndrome

Adrienne M. Fleckman, Ulrich K. Schubart, Allan Danziger, Norman Fleischer

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47 Scopus citations


This report describes the findings of computed tomography of the sella turcica region in 13 women in whom postpartum hypopltuitarism developed in the absence of a pituitary tumor. Seven patients had the typical history of severe postpartum hemorrhage (Sheehan's syndrome). Computed tomographic scanning in these patients revealed absence (in six patients) or marked reduction (in one patient) of the amount of demonstrable pituitary tissue. The pituitary fossa was occupied by material with the density of cerebrospinal fluid, resulting in the appearance of an "empty sella." Sella size was within the normal range in six of the seven patients and enlarged in one. The six remaining patients lacked a characteristic history of vascular collapse, although several did have postpartum complications. The radiologic findings in four of these patients were similar to those seen in the patients with typical Sheehan's syndrome: one patient had a partially empty sella and another had normal results of computed tomographic scanning. Thus, 11 of 13 women with postpartum hypopituitarism were noted to have an empty or partially empty sella of normal size. This report represents the first radiologic documentation of Sheehan's syndrome as a cause of the secondary empty sella, with the characteristic finding being an empty sella of normal size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-591
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1983


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