Pituitary function and functional outcome in adults after severe traumatic brain injury: The long-term perspective Academic Article uri icon


  • Post-traumatic hypopituitarism (PTHP) has been linked to disability and decreased quality of life. However, no studies have addressed the long-term consequences of PTHP in adults with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) only. In this study, we evaluated the relationship between pituitary function, quality of life, and functioning in 51 patients (16-65 years of age) with severe TBI who were admitted to Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg from 1999 to 2002. The patients were assessed once, 2-10 years after trauma. Data from the time of injury were collected retrospectively to adjust for injury severity. Outcome measures included hormonal testing, the Short Form-36 Health Survey, the Glasgow outcome scale-extended, and a self-report questionnaire specifically designed for this study and based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Of 51 patients, 14 (27.5%) presented with PTHP, and 11 (21.6%) had isolated growth hormone deficiency. Patients with PTHP were more often overweight at follow-up (p=0.01); the higher body mass index was partially explained by PTHP (R2 change=0.07, p=0.001). Otherwise no significant correlation was found among PTHP, functioning, or patient-reported quality of life. This study-which is unique in the homogeneity of the patients, the long follow-up time, and the use of injury severity as an outcome predictor-did not confirm results from previous studies linking PTHP to a worse outcome. Therefore, screening for PTHP might be restricted to specific subgroups such as overweight patients, indicating growth hormone deficiency.


  • Ulfarsson, Trandur
  • Arnar Gudnason, Gudni
  • Rosén, Thord
  • Blomstrand, Christian
  • Stibrant Sunnerhagen, Katharina
  • Lundgren-Nilsson, Åsa
  • Nilsson, Michael

publication date

  • 2013