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01.12.2018 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Ophthalmology 1/2018

Severe ophthalmic manifestation in pituitary-involved granulomatosis with polyangiitis: a case report and literature review

BMC Ophthalmology > Ausgabe 1/2018
Xia Zhang, Bing Xing, Hui You, Huanwen Wu, Yong Zhong, Jin Ma
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12886-018-0966-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), a necrotizing granulomatous disease, very rarely involves the central nervous system (CNS), particularly the pituitary. Delayed treatment may cause permanent bilateral blindness. We report an isolated case of pituitary GPA that manifested as a progressive bilateral temporal visual field (VF) defect and was diagnosed via pituitary biopsy. Additionally, we review ocular, chiasmal and cranial nerve involvement in pituitary GPA.

Case presentation

A 20-year-old Chinese man was referred for repeated fever, sudden headache, diplopia with a bilateral best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of 10/20, ptosis in both eyes and restricted abduction on the right side. VF tests showed bitemporal hemianopsia. Laboratory tests revealed hypothyroidism and were negative for autoimmune markers. Enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed pituitary enlargement. The diagnosis was lymphocytic pituitaritis. After intravenous (IV) dexamethasone treatment, full recovery occurred within 2 months. Two years later, the patient was readmitted for headache recurrence. With oral prednisone, the visual acuity in his right eye rapidly decreased to hand motion (HM) within one month. Enhanced MRI showed pituitary enlargement and a new, invasive suprasellar CNS lesion. All infection- and autoimmune-related tests were negative. The visual acuity in his right and left eye decreased to no light perception (NLP) after 6 days and 2 weeks, respectively. The biopsy results suggested GPA. After IV methylprednisolone treatment, complete remission of the symptoms occurred and was confirmed by MRI. The 15-month follow-up showed no signs of recurrence.


GPA typically affects the respiratory tract, lungs and kidneys. To date, 50 cases with pituitary involvement have been reported. Chiasmal and cranial nerve involvement leading to visual acuity impairment are common. We found 2 cases with severe visual loss resembling our case and discuss certain similarities.
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