Acute Unilateral Oculomotor Nerve Palsy as the Initial Presenting Sign of Nonfunctioning Apoplectic Gonadotroph Adenoma




LewisGale Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



pituitary macroadenoma, nonfunctioning adenoma, mass effect, oculomotor nerve palsy, left eye ptosis, transsphenoidal resection, stereotactic radiotherapy


Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Internal Medicine | Neoplasms | Nervous System Diseases | Neurology


Pituitary macroadenoma usually presents with visual field defects. Oculomotor nerve palsy is a rare presentation, and usually a sign of para-sellar growth and cavernous sinus extension. The oculomotor nerve is more susceptible to laterally transmitted pressure by pituitary mass expansion because of its anatomical location. A slow onset oculomotor nerve palsy results from either gradual compression of the nerve in the sinus wall or direct infiltration of the nerve by the pituitary tumor. We are reporting a unique case of a 68-year-old African American patient who presented to an ophthalmology clinic with left eye complete ptosis, blurry vision, and a progressive headache for a few weeks. He was found to have a nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) that required urgent transnasal transsphenoidal tumor resection. The patient's ocular movements significantly improved a few days postoperatively, and repeated computed tomography (CT) of the head showed complete resection of the pituitary adenoma. The postoperative morning cortisol level was significantly low, confirming the diagnosis of secondary adrenal insufficiency. The patient was treated with corticosteroid replacement therapy.

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