Twelve cases of the primary empty sella syndrome were analyzed in regard to clinical findings, roentgenographic features, pituitary function and cerebrospinal fluid adenohypophysial hormone concentration. The findings were compared with those in 247 cases of the primary empty sella syndrome reviewed from the literature in order to determine the major characteristics of this disorder. The majority of patients are obese, multiparous women with normal pituitary reserve, normal visual fields and undetectable adenohypo-physial hormone concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid. In addition, occasional patients will have hypertension, pseudotumor cerebri and cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea. Patients who present with the typical features of the primary empty sella syndrome should be evaluated periodically with pituitary function testing, visual field examinations and cerebrospinal fluid adenohypophysial hormone determinations. If these parameters remain normal during careful follow-up studies, the patient is likely to have an empty sella, and pneumoencephalographic and angiographic studies can be avoided.
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