Neuroendocrine Changes are common during the acute Phase of Traumatic Brain Injury and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

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Pétur Sigurjónsson, MD Msc. Asta Dogg Jonasdottir, MD Msc. Ingvar H Olafsson, MD Sigurbergur Karason, MD, PhD, professor Gudmundur Sigthorsson, MD Msc PhD Helga A Sigurjonsdottir, MD, PhD, professor


Background and aims of the study: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) can cause death and long-term morbidity. Studies indicate that both TBI and SAH may affect pituitary function in both the acute and the chronic phase. The aims of this study were firstly to evaluate the nature of neuroendocrine changes in the acute phase of moderate and severe TBI and all SAH, to evaluate association between neuroendocrine disturbance and indicators of severity of insult as well as hypotension, desaturation and anemia and to evaluated the incidence of neuroendocrine changes after moderate and severe TBI and SAH in the acute phase. Purpose: To explore neuroendocrine disturbances in moderate traumatic brain injury (mTBI), severe TBI (sTBI) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in the acute phase.

Methods: The study was a prospective single-center study. Anterior hypothalamic-pituitary (HP) hormone axis were assessed on admission (day 0) with baseline hormone levels and on day 6 post insult with baseline hormone levels and a Synacthen test. From patient charts we recorded for all patients GCS, APACHEII score, length of ICU stay, pupil dilatation, documented hypotension, desaturation and hemoglobin value <80 g/dL. Hunt and Hess grade for SAH group and Injury severity score for TBI group. S100b was measured in all patients on admission. We included 21 TBI patient, 6 moderate TBI and 15 severe TBI, and 19 SAH patients. Anterior hypothalamic-pituitary (HP) hormone axis were assessed on day 0 and 6 post insult in Twenty-one TBI patient and 19 SAH patients.

Results: HP-adrenal axis: The TBI group had significantly lower mean cortisol than the SAH group on day 0, 23.8% of TBI patients had low cortisol and 0% of SAH patients. On day 6, one patient in each group had low cortisol, 6.7% of TBI and 9.1% of SAH. HP-gonadal axis: In males on day 0, 52.9% of TBI patients and 57.1% of SAH patients had suppressed HP-gonadal axis and on day 6, 84.6% of TBI patients and 90% of SAH patients. There was a greater suppression of LH/FSH in the TBI group. HP-thyroid axis: Only one TBI patient (5.9%) had secondary hypothyroidism on day 6. HP-somatotroph axis: On day 0, 52.4% of TBI patients and 35.7% of SAH patients had low IGF-1. On day 6 all but one TBI patient (5.9%) had normalized their IGF-1 but 25% of SAH patients still had low IGF-1. In general, when evaluating association there seemed to more suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary (HP) gonadal and thyroid axis with more severe insult and adequately more activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis.

Conclusion: Neuroendocrine disturbances in the acute phase of TBI and SAH are common and seem to differ between the two groups. The clinical significance of these disturbances is uncertain.

Keywords: Traumatic brain injury, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Neuroendocrine disturbances, hormonal change

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How to Cite
SIGURJÓNSSON, Pétur et al. Neuroendocrine Changes are common during the acute Phase of Traumatic Brain Injury and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 9, sep. 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 29 may 2023. doi:
Research Articles


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