Sphenoid sinus mucosal thickening in the acute phase of pituitary apoplexy
18/04/2017 00:00



In pituitary apoplexy (PA), there are preliminary reports on the appearance of sphenoid sinus mucosal thickening (SSMT). SSMT is otherwise uncommon with an incidence of up to 7% in asymptomatic individuals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and clinical significance of SSMT in patients with PA and a control group of surgically treated non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs).


Retrospective review of clinical and imaging variables in PA and NFPA patients. Sphenoid sinus mucosal thickness was measured on the presenting MRI scan by a blinded neuroradiologist. Pathological SSMT was defined as >1 mm adjacent to the pituitary fossa. Forward stepwise logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with SSMT.


There were 50 NFPA and 47 PA patients. PA patients were managed conservatively (N?=?11) or surgically (N?=?36). The median sphenoid sinus mucosal thickness was greater in the PA than NFPA groups (2.0 vs. 0.5 mm; p?<?0.001). In multivariate analysis of both the PA and NFPA groups, the presence of PA was the only factor associated with SSMT (OR 0.043, 95% CI 0.012?0.16; p?<?0.001). In multivariate analysis of the PA group alone, a shorter time from symptom onset to presenting MRI scan (OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.026?0.54; p?=?0.006) and a more severe grade of apoplexy (OR 7.29, 95% CI 1.10?48.40; p?=?0.04), were associated with SSMT.


The incidence of SSMT is higher in patients with PA, especially during the acute phase of PA. The aetiology of SSMT in PA is unclear and may reflect inflammatory and/or infective changes.