Pituitary apoplexy presenting as diabetic ketoacidosis: A great simulator?

Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2016;37(1):9-11.


Pituitary apoplexy is a life-threatening illness due to acute infarction of the pituitary gland. The most common symptoms associated with pituitary apoplexy are headache, nausea, vomiting, visual impairment, hypopituitarism, and altered mental status. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a common acute complication of diabetes mellitus and is itself associated with similar symptoms. We present the case of a 38 year old woman, who presented with altered mental status and biochemical alterations suggestive of diabetic ketoacidosis who was found to have a pituitary apoplexy. The low frequency of this condition coupled with an acute and usually dramatic presentation that includes non-specific symptoms makes it a diagnostic challenge. Pituitary apoplexy can simulate a wide range of neurological conditions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Obesity / complications
  • Pituitary Apoplexy / diagnosis*