Pituitary insufficiency following traumatic thoracic injury in an adolescent male patient: A case report and literature review

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Abstract

Rationale:

Traumatic thoracic injuries in adolescents are rare but could be connected with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and development of chronic hypopituitarism. Early recognition of these endocrine problems is a significant challenge to clinicians. We present difficulties in diagnosis of hypothalamic-pituitary insufficiency following traumatic thoracic injury in adolescence. We also review the literature of similar cases.

Patient concerns:

We present a case of a 24-years-old male. In 2007, at the age of 15 he underwent a severe traffic accident followed by thoracic injury with concussion, hemothorax and dissection of the aorta requiring aortic stent-graft implantation.

Diagnoses:

During the post-traumatic period, transient polydipsia and polyuria symptoms were observed. The patient had no medical history of any serious disease before the accident, his growth and pubertal development was normal. After the accident the patient did not undergo any routine medical check-ups. In 2013 gonadal axis deficiency was diagnosed during investigation of libido problems. Following the diagnosis testosterone replacement therapy was initiated.

Interventions:

Further endocrinological investigation was carried out in 2016. The patient's main complaints were decreased mood and poor physical fitness. BMI was 27.34 kg/m2, with a tendency to abdominal fat distribution. The patient's height is 160 cm, while Mid Parental Height (MPH) is 173.5 cm. Decreased bone density was found in DEXA examination. Serum growth hormone level (GH) was normal while insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) level was below normal. Insulin tolerance test (ITT) and low levels of IGF-1 confirmed somatotropic axis deficiency. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) of the hypothalamo-pituitary region showed no abnormalities. PROP 1 and other common genetic mutations associated with GH deficits were excluded. Testosterone treatment was continued. The patient increased physical activity and implemented diet.

Outcomes:

The patient has lost weight, improved physical activity performance and is feeling better. The procedure to start GH supplementation is now in process.

Lessons:

Based on our case and available literature we suggest that adolescent patients after traumatic brain injuries may require precise investigation and strict monitoring due to the possibility of unrecognized hypopituitarism.

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