Sheehan syndrome refers to a rare (but serious) complication of pregnancy that results in ischemic infarction and necrosis of the anterior pituitary.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
During pregnancy the pituitary is physiologically hypertrophic, and as a result more prone to hypoxic injury. Sheehan syndrome occurs when there is a massive obstetric hemorrhage, that leads to hypovolemic shock. Under such circumstances the anterior pituitary is not properly perfused, leading to its infarction.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
Once the anterior pituitary is infarcted it will no longer be able to carry out its function. Patients will have symptoms of hypopituitarism that can include any combination of the following:
WHAT MAKES US SUSPECT IT?
Massive hemorrhage during pregnancy (that might result in a transfusion)
- Inability to breastfeed
- Weight loss
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Page Updated: 10.15.2016