Poststroke fatigue (PSF) is a highly prevalent and debilitating condition. However, the etiology remains incompletely understood. Literature suggests the co-prevalence of pituitary dysfunction (PD) with stroke, and the question raises whether this could be a contributing factor to the development of PSF. This study reviews the prevalence of PD after stroke and other acquired brain injuries and its association with fatigue.
We performed a bibliographic literature search of MEDLINE and EMBASE databases for English language studies on PD in adult patients with stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI) or aneurysmatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Forty-two articles were selected for review. Up to 82% of patients were found to have any degree of PD after stroke. Growth hormone deficiency was most commonly found. In aSAH and TBI, prevalences up to 49.3% were reported. However, data differed widely between studies, mostly due to methodological differences including the diagnostic methods used to define PD and the focus on the acute or chronic phase. Data on PD and outcome after stroke, aSAH and TBI are conflicting. No studies were found investigating the association between PD and PSF. Data on the association between PD and fatigue after aSAH and TBI were scarce and conflicting, and fatigue is rarely been investigated as a primary end point.
Data according to the prevalence of PD after stroke and other acquired brain injury suggest a high prevalence of PD after these conditions. However, the clinical relevance and especially the association with fatigue need to be established.