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Diagnosis and evaluation of patients with an enlarged sella turcica

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      Abstract

      A prospective analysis of the roentgenographic and laboratory parameters in 100 patients with an enlarged sella turcica was made. Seventy-five patients had no visual symptoms: 27 had primary intrasellar tumor; 25 had the empty sella syndrome; 13 had an extrasellar process; and in 10, no final diagnosis was made because air study was omitted. However, these patients remained asymptomatic for up to three years. Eighteen of the patients with a primary intrasellar tumor had symptomatic pituitary dysfunction; nine were asymptomatic. Five of 14 patients studied had elevated plasma prolactin levels. Of the 25 patients with the empty sella syndrome and the 10 patients in whom no final diagnosis was made, none had any clinical endocrine or visual abnormalities, although in 10 of these 35 patients, results of laboratory studies were compatible with pituitary dysfunction. In these cases, air study was necessary to differentiate a clinically silent pituitary tumor from the empty sella syndrome. This emphasizes the high incidence of the empty sella syndrome in patients with enlarged sella, and also confirms the high incidence of hyperprolactinemia in patients with pituitary tumors.
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