Nelson syndrome and perinatal challenges: A case report and systematic review of the literature

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2023 Oct;163(1):89-95. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.14791. Epub 2023 May 2.


Nelson syndrome is a rare and potentially life-threatening complication of treatment with total bilateral adrenalectomy for women with Cushing disease. A successful term pregnancy following fertility treatment in a patient with Nelson syndrome is presented. Our study provides guidance in the prenatal and intrapartum management of this condition. A case report and a systematic review of 14 papers describing 50 pregnancies are presented. An electronic database search included Medline (1946 to September 2022), Embase (1980 to September 2022), Cochrane Library, and UKOSS. A small number of pregnancies in women with Nelson syndrome are reported in literature, but there are no guidelines. Some authors detail the prenatal care provided to their patients. Four studies report prenatal monitoring with visual field checks and two report monitoring with X-rays. Five studies report the use of parenteral hydrocortisone at the time of delivery. Where described, women delivered appropriately grown newborns at term, with timing and mode of delivery dictated by obstetric indications. Preconception counseling and optimization of maternal health status improve pregnancy outcomes in women with Nelson syndrome. Multidisciplinary review in a combined obstetric-endocrine prenatal clinic is ideal. Awareness about potential complications during pregnancy and the postnatal period is crucial in providing optimal care to the mother and baby.

Keywords: Cushing syndrome; Nelson syndrome; Nelson syndrome in pregnancy; bilateral adrenalectomy.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nelson Syndrome*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care