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June 16, 1951


JAMA. 1951;146(7):653-654. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670070045013

Simmonds1 in 1914 described a man with clinical symptoms suggestive of hypopituitarism and postmortem lesions the essential feature of which was the destruction of the pituitary. The syndrome represented a condition of insufficiency of the anterior lobe of the pituitary. Conditions capable of causing necrosis of the pituitary consist of tumors, cysts, gumma, massive tuberculous necrosis, granulomas of unknown etiology, hypophysectomy and healed postpartum necrosis of the anterior lobe of the pituitary.

Sheehan2 described massive focal atrophy of the anterior pituitary, which occurs only in women and is nearly always of postpartum origin. The lesion is an ischemic necrosis similar in type to an infarct and occupying most of the anterior lobe. Sheehan reported 13 cases of fresh pituitary necrosis and one of healed pituitary necrosis observed in the course of two years at the Glasgow Royal Maternity and Women's Hospital. The necrosis was found in patients who