Recent Submissions

  • Point-of-care ultrasound is a useful adjunct tool to a clinician's assessment in the evaluation of severe hyponatraemia

    Al Alaisi, Salam; Coats, Timothy; Levy, Miles; Melson, Eka; Rahman, Faizanur; Rahman, Latif; Reddy, Narendra; Sardar, Muhammad; Shafiq, Shahriar (2024-01-16)
    Introduction: Hyponatraemia is the most common electrolyte disorder in inpatients resulting mainly from an imbalance in water homeostasis. Intravascular fluid status assessment is pivotal but is often challenging given multimorbidity, polypharmacy and diuretics use. We evaluated the utility of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) as an adjunct tool to standard practice for fluid assessment in severe hyponatraemia patients. Methods: Patients presenting with severe hyponatremia (Serum Sodium [Na] < 120 mmol/L; Normal range: 135-145 mol/L), managed by standard care were included. Hyponatraemia biochemistry work-up and POCUS examination were undertaken. Both clinician and POCUS independently assigned one of the three fluid status groups of hypovolaemia, hypervolaemia or euvolaemia. The final diagnosis of three fluid status groups at admission was made at the time of discharge by retrospective case review. Clinician's (standard of care) and POCUS fluid assessments were compared to that of the final diagnosis at the time of discharge. Results: n = 19 patients were included. Median Na on admission was 113 mmol/L (109-116), improved to 129 ± 3 mmol/L on discharge. POCUS showed the higher degree of agreement with the final diagnosis (84%; n = 16/19), followed by the clinician (63%; n = 12/19). A trend towards higher accuracy of POCUS compared to clinician assessment of fluid status was noted (84% vs. 63%, p = 0.1611). Biochemistry was unreliable in 58% (n = 11/19) likely due to renal failure, polypharmacy or diuretic use. Inappropriate emergency fluid management was undertaken in 37% (n = 7/19) of cases based on initial clinician assessment. Thirst symptom correlated to hypovolaemia in 80% (4/5) cases. Conclusion: As subjective clinical and biochemistry assessments of fluid status are often unreliable due to co-morbidities and concurrent use of medications, POCUS can be a rapid objective diagnostic tool to assess fluid status in patients with severe hyponatraemia, to guide accurate emergency fluid management.
  • Natural history of non-functioning pituitary microadenomas: results from the UK non-functioning pituitary adenoma consortium

    Mavilakandy, Akash; Ahsan, Masato; Reddy, Narendra; Levy, Miles (2023-06-22)
    Objective: The optimal approach to the surveillance of non-functioning pituitary microadenomas (micro-NFPAs) is not clearly established. Our aim was to generate evidence on the natural history of micro-NFPAs to support patient care. Design: Multi-centre, retrospective, cohort study involving 23 endocrine departments (UK NFPA consortium). Methods: Clinical, imaging, and hormonal data of micro-NFPA cases between January, 1, 2008 and December, 21, 2021 were analysed. Results: Data for 459 patients were retrieved [median age at detection 44 years (IQR 31-57)-152 males/307 females]. Four hundred and nineteen patients had more than two magnetic resonance imagings (MRIs) [median imaging monitoring 3.5 years (IQR 1.71-6.1)]. One case developed apoplexy. Cumulative probability of micro-NFPA growth was 7.8% (95% CI, 4.9%-8.1%) and 14.5% (95% CI, 10.2%-18.8%) at 3 and 5 years, respectively, and of reduction 14.1% (95% CI, 10.4%-17.8%) and 21.3% (95% CI, 16.4%-26.2%) at 3 and 5 years, respectively. Median tumour enlargement was 2 mm (IQR 1-3) and 49% of micro-NFPAs that grew became macroadenomas (nearly all >5 mm at detection). Eight (1.9%) patients received surgery (only one had visual compromise with surgery required >3 years after micro-NFPA detection). Sex, age, and size at baseline were not predictors of enlargement/reduction. At the time of detection, 7.2%, 1.7%, and 1.5% patients had secondary hypogonadism, hypothyroidism, and hypoadrenalism, respectively. Two (0.6%) developed hypopituitarism during follow-up (after progression to macroadenoma). Conclusions: Probability of micro-NFPA growth is low, and the development of new hypopituitarism is rare. Delaying the first follow-up MRI to 3 years and avoiding hormonal re-evaluation in the absence of tumour growth or clinical manifestations is a safe approach for micro-NFPA surveillance.
  • COVID-19-related adrenal haemorrhage: Multicentre UK experience and systematic review of the literature

    Levy, Miles (2023-01-29)
    Objective: Adrenal haemorrhage (AH) is an uncommon, usually incidental imaging finding in acutely unwell patients. AH has been reported during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection and following ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (Oxford-AstraZeneca) vaccination. The Society for Endocrinology (SfE) established a task force to describe the UK experience of COVID-19-related AH. Design: A systematic literature review was undertaken. A survey was conducted through the SfE clinical membership to identify patients with COVID-19-related AH using a standardized data collection tool. Results: The literature search yielded 25 cases of COVID-19-related AH (19 bilateral; 13 infection-related, and 12 vaccine-related). Eight UK centres responded to the survey with at least one case. A total of 18 cases were included in the descriptive study, including 11 from the survey and 7 UK-based patients from the systematic review. Seven patients (4 males; median age 53 (range 26-70) years), had infection-related AH (four bilateral). Median time from positive COVID-19 test to AH detection was 8 (range 1-30) days. Eleven cases of vaccine-related AH (eight bilateral) were captured (3 males; median age 47 (range 23-78) years). Median time between vaccination (nine Oxford-AstraZeneca and two Pfizer-BioNTech) and AH was 9 (range 2-27) days; 9/11 AH occurred after the first vaccine dose. Acute abdominal pain was the commonest presentation (72%) in AH of any cause. All 12 patients with bilateral AH and one patient with unilateral AH required glucocorticoid replacement. Conclusion: Adrenal haemorrhage with consequential adrenal insufficiency can be a complication of COVID-19 infection and vaccination. Adrenal function assessment is mandatory to avoid the potentially fatal consequences of unrecognized adrenal insufficiency.
  • Nelson syndrome and perinatal challenges: A case report and systematic review of the literature

    Jones, Kate; Reis, Ines; Levy, Miles; Potdar, Neelam (2023-05-02)
    Nelson syndrome is a rare and potentially life-threatening complication of treatment with total bilateral adrenalectomy for women with Cushing disease. A successful term pregnancy following fertility treatment in a patient with Nelson syndrome is presented. Our study provides guidance in the prenatal and intrapartum management of this condition. A case report and a systematic review of 14 papers describing 50 pregnancies are presented. An electronic database search included Medline (1946 to September 2022), Embase (1980 to September 2022), Cochrane Library, and UKOSS. A small number of pregnancies in women with Nelson syndrome are reported in literature, but there are no guidelines. Some authors detail the prenatal care provided to their patients. Four studies report prenatal monitoring with visual field checks and two report monitoring with X-rays. Five studies report the use of parenteral hydrocortisone at the time of delivery. Where described, women delivered appropriately grown newborns at term, with timing and mode of delivery dictated by obstetric indications. Preconception counseling and optimization of maternal health status improve pregnancy outcomes in women with Nelson syndrome. Multidisciplinary review in a combined obstetric-endocrine prenatal clinic is ideal. Awareness about potential complications during pregnancy and the postnatal period is crucial in providing optimal care to the mother and baby.
  • UK practice on incidentally detected non-functioning pituitary microadenomas: analysis of two national surveys during a 12-year interval

    Levy, Miles (2022-11-25)
    Purpose: The optimal management approach for presumed non-functioning pituitary microadenomas (microNFPAs) remains unclear. Our aim was to capture current UK practice and identify changes with time. Methods: Two online surveys investigating clinicians' approaches were performed in 2009-2010 and 2021-2022 (advertised through Society for Endocrinology UK). Results: 150 and 214 clinicians participated in the 2021 and 2009 survey, respectively (response rates 31.2% and 35.4%, respectively). At baseline, 2021 survey respondents were more likely to measure IGF-1 (96.0% vs 74.1%, p < 0.001) and morning cortisol (87.9% vs 62.6%, p < 0.001), and less likely GH (26.2% vs 42.6% p = 0.002), 24 h urine free cortisol (3.4% vs 23.2%, p < 0.0001) or dynamically assess adrenal reserve (11.4% vs 30.4%, p < 0.001). 47.2% of clinicians in 2021 would reassess pituitary function annually until discharge (in absence of tumour growth/symptoms). The 2021 survey respondents were more likely to stop imaging at or before 3 years (81.7% vs 44.3%, p < 0.001) and at or before 5 years (86.6.% vs 72.9%, p = 0.002), whilst 2009 survey respondents were more likely to continue imaging beyond 5 years (24% vs 7%, p < 0.001). Responses on imaging frequency/intervals showed notable variability in both surveys. Conclusions: Diagnostic and management approaches for microNFPAs have evolved in the UK. Biochemical investigations are performed in accord with consensus guidelines, though many clinicians perform annual biochemical surveillance without tumour growth/symptoms. A small number of clinicians request imaging beyond 5 years, but the frequency of imaging intervals until discharge remains variable. Robust evidence on the long-term natural history of microNFPAs is necessary to unify clinician approach.
  • A study of acromegaly-associated headache with somatostatin analgesia

    Levy, Miles; Gohil, Shailesh
    The aim of this study is to characterise somatostatin analogue-responsive headache in acromegaly, hitherto not systematically documented in a significant cohort. Using the UK pituitary network, we have clinically characterised a cohort of 18 patients suffering from acromegaly-related headache with a clear response to somatostatin analogues. The majority of patients had chronic migraine (78%) as defined by the International Headache Society diagnostic criteria. Headache was present at the time of acromegaly presentation and clearly associated temporally with disease activity in all cases. Short-acting somatostatin analogues uniquely resolved pain within minutes and the mean duration of analgesia was 1-6 h. Patients on long-acting analogues required less short-acting injections (mean: 3.7 vs 10.4 injections per day, P = 0.005). 94% used somatostatin analogues to control ongoing headache pain. All patients presented with macroadenoma, most had incomplete resection (94%) and headache was ipsilateral to remnant tissue (94%). Although biochemical control was achieved in 78% of patients, headache remained in 71% of them. Patients selected for this study had ongoing headache post-treatment (mean duration: 16 years after diagnosis); only four patients reached headache remission 26 years (mean range: 14-33) after the diagnosis. Headache in acromegaly patients can be persistent, severe, unrelieved by surgery, long-lasting and uncoupled from biochemical control. We show here that long-acting analogues allow a decrease in the number of short-acting analogue injections for headache relief. Further studies are needed to understand the mechanisms, markers and tumour tissue characteristics of acromegaly-related headache. Until then, this publication serves to provide the clinical characteristics as a reference point for further study.
  • Changing the name of diabetes insipidus: A position statement of the working group for renaming diabetes insipidus

    Levy, Miles (2022-11-10)
    Recent data show that patients with a diagnosis of diabetes insipidus (DI) are coming to harm. Here we give the rationale for a name change to arginine vasopressin deficiency and resistance for central and nephrogenic DI, respectively.
  • Postradioiodine graves' management: The PRAGMA study

    Levy, Miles (2022-03-11)
    Objective: Thyroid status in the months following radioiodine (RI) treatment for Graves' disease can be unstable. Our objective was to quantify frequency of abnormal thyroid function post-RI and compare effectiveness of common management strategies. Design: Retrospective, multicentre and observational study. Patients: Adult patients with Graves' disease treated with RI with 12 months' follow-up. Measurements: Euthyroidism was defined as both serum thyrotropin (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH]) and free thyroxine (FT4) within their reference ranges or, when only one was available, it was within its reference range; hypothyroidism as TSH ≥ 10 mU/L, or subnormal FT4 regardless of TSH; hyperthyroidism as TSH below and FT4 above their reference ranges; dysthyroidism as the sum of hypo- and hyperthyroidism; subclinical hypothyroidism as normal FT4 and TSH between the upper limit of normal and <10 mU/L; and subclinical hyperthyroidism as low TSH and normal FT4. Results: Of 812 patients studied post-RI, hypothyroidism occurred in 80.7% and hyperthyroidism in 48.6% of patients. Three principal post-RI management strategies were employed: (a) antithyroid drugs alone, (b) levothyroxine alone, and (c) combination of the two. Differences among these were small. Adherence to national guidelines regarding monitoring thyroid function in the first 6 months was low (21.4%-28.7%). No negative outcomes (new-onset/exacerbation of Graves' orbitopathy, weight gain, and cardiovascular events) were associated with dysthyroidism. There were significant differences in demographics, clinical practice, and thyroid status postradioiodine between centres. Conclusions: Dysthyroidism in the 12 months post-RI was common. Differences between post-RI strategies were small, suggesting these interventions alone are unlikely to address the high frequency of dysthyroidism.
  • Audit of long-term treatment outcomes of thyrotoxicosis in a single-centre virtual clinic: The utility of long-term antithyroid drugs

    Levy, Miles; Reddy, Narendra; Price, David; Bhake, Ragini; Bremner, Emma; Barrowcliffe, Mary; Robinson, Carole; Zaccardi, Francesco; Howlett, Trevor
    Objective: To investigate the long-term outcomes and prognosis of thyrotoxicosis in a large number of patients in a single UK county (Leicestershire). Design: Retrospective cohort analysis of 56,741 thyroid function test (TFT) results, treatment modalities and outcomes in a well-established virtual thyrotoxicosis clinic database. Patients: One thousand four hundred and eighty-nine patients were included with a median length of follow-up of 10.9 years. The aetiology of thyrotoxicosis was autoimmune (85.9%), nodular (9.1%) and mixed (5.0%). Treatment modalities included antithyroid drugs (ATDs), radioiodine (RAI; 555 MBq fixed dose) and thyroidectomy. Methods: We analysed both individual TFTs and groups of sequential TFTs on or after the same thyroid treatment(s), which we describe as 'phase of thyroid care' (POTC). Patients studied entered the virtual clinic between 1 January 1995 and 1 January 2010; we exported data on every TFT sample up to April 2020. Results: ATD had been used in 99.2% (median 2, maximum seven courses) with long-term ATD (>2 years) in 48%. RAI and thyroidectomy were used more commonly with nodular and mixed aetiology. Overall, T4 was more often controlled than thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and at the latest follow-up, T4 was normal in >96%, TSH in >79% and both in >76% of different aetiologies. The mean percentage control of T4 was 85% and TSH 50%; in long-term ATD courses, this improved to 89% and 62%, respectively. In the latest POTC, control of T4 and TSH was best in cases off treatment (95%/87%) and on T4 without ablative therapy (94%/72%), but was broadly similar in patients on long-term ATD (90%/68%), after RAI (92%/60%) or after thyroidectomy (91%/58%). After the first course of ATD, remission or hypothyroidism was seen in 47.3% autoimmune, 20.9% nodular and 32.5% mixed, with 90% relapses seen within 4 years. Relapse was more common in patients with ophthalmopathy, but there was no difference between the sexes. Conclusions: Thyrotoxicosis can be well controlled with minimal specialist clinic attendance using a software-supported virtual shared-care scheme. Long-term ATD appears to be a valid patient choice achieving TFT control comparable to that seen after RAI or surgery. In patients with autoimmune disease, relapse is more common in patients with ophthalmopathy, and hypothyroidism is common after RAI. In nodular disease, we found that spontaneous remission may occur.
  • Risk of second brain tumour after radiotherapy for pituitary adenoma or craniopharyngioma: a retrospective, multicentre, cohort study of 3679 patients with long-term imaging surveillance

    Mavilakandy, Akash; Levy, Miles; Reddy, Narendra (2022-06-30)
    Background: Radiotherapy is a valuable treatment in the management algorithm of pituitary adenomas and craniopharyngiomas. However, the risk of second brain tumour following radiotherapy is a major concern. We assessed this risk using non-irradiated patients with the same primary pathology and imaging surveillance as controls. Methods: In this multicentre, retrospective cohort study, 4292 patients with pituitary adenoma or craniopharyngioma were identified from departmental registries at six adult endocrine centres (Birmingham, Oxford, Leeds, Leicester, and Bristol, UK and Ferrara, Italy). Patients with insufficient clinical data, known genetic predisposition to or history of brain tumour before study entry (n=532), and recipients of proton beam or stereotactic radiotherapy (n=81) were excluded. Data were analysed for 996 patients exposed to 2-dimensional radiotherapy, 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, or intensity-modulated radiotherapy, and compared with 2683 controls. Findings: Over 45 246 patient-years, second brain tumours were reported in 61 patients (seven malignant [five radiotherapy, two controls], 54 benign [25 radiotherapy, 29 controls]). Radiotherapy exposure and older age at pituitary tumour detection were associated with increased risk of second brain tumour. Rate ratio for irradiated patients was 2·18 (95% CI 1·31-3·62, p<0·0001). Cumulative probability of second brain tumour was 4% for the irradiated and 2·1% for the controls at 20 years. Interpretation: Irradiated adults with pituitary adenoma or craniopharyngioma are at increased risk of second brain tumours, although this risk is considerably lower than previously reported in studies using general population controls with no imaging surveillance. Our data clarify an important clinical question and guide clinicians when counselling patients with pituitary adenoma or craniopharyngioma on the risks and benefits of radiotherapy. Funding: Pfizer.
  • UK national chronic hypoparathyroidism audit

    Sharma, Vivek (2022-07-06)
    Objectives: Individuals with chronic hypoparathyroidism may experience suboptimal medical care with high frequency of unplanned hospitalisation and iatrogenic harm. In 2015 the European Society for Endocrinology published consensus guidelines on the management of chronic hypoparathyroidism. We set out to audit compliance with these guidelines. Methods: Using these recommendations as audit standards we worked with the Society for Endocrinology and Parathyroid UK to conduct a national audit of management of chronic hypoparathyroidism in the United Kingdom. Endocrine leads in 117 endocrine departments were invited to participate in the survey by completing a data collection tool on up to 5 sequential cases of chronic hypoparathyroidism seen in their outpatient clinics in the preceding 12 months. Data were collected on 4 treatment standards and 9 monitoring standards. Data on hospitalisations and Quality of Life monitoring were also collected. Results: Responses were received from 22 departments giving a response rate of 19%, concerning 80 individual cases. The mean age of subjects was 48.4 years. The main findings were that the commonest cause of hypoparathyroidism was post surgical (66.3%). Treatments taken by the group included activated vitamin D analogues (96.3%), oral calcium salts (66.3%), vitamin D supplements (17.5%), thiazide diuretics (5%) and rhPTH1-34 (1.3%). Compliance with the audit standards varied between 98.8% and 60% for the treatment standards and between 91.3% and 20% for the monitoring standards. Some of the areas of weakness revealed include low rates of 24 h urinary calcium excretion monitoring, serum magnesium monitoring and low rates of renal imaging where indicated. In addition and importantly, 16.3% of subjects had experienced at least one hospital admission in the preceding 12 months. Conclusion: We conclude that further improvements in the UK national standard of management of chronic hypoparathyroidism should be made and that this will benefit both quality of life, morbidity and potentially mortality in this group of patients.
  • Central diabetes insipidus from a patient's perspective: management, psychological co-morbidities, and renaming of the condition: results from an international web-based survey

    Hamza, Malak; Levy, Miles (2022-08-22)
    Background: Central diabetes insipidus is a rare neuroendocrine condition. Data on treatment-associated side-effects, psychological comorbidities, and incorrect management are scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate patients' perspectives on their disease. Methods: This study used a cross-sectional, web-based, anonymous survey, developed by endocrinologists and patient representatives, to collect the opinions of patients with central diabetes insipidus on management and complications of their disease, psychological comorbidities, degree of knowledge and awareness of the condition among health-care professionals, and renaming the disease to avoid confusion with diabetes mellitus (diabetes). Findings: Between Aug 23, 2021, and Feb 7, 2022, 1034 patients with central diabetes insipidus participated in the survey. 91 (9%) participants were children and adolescents (37 [41%] girls and 54 [59%] boys; median age 10 years [IQR 6-15]) and 943 (91%) were adults (757 [80%] women and 186 [20%] men]; median age 44 years [34-54]). 488 (47%) participants had isolated posterior pituitary dysfunction and 546 (53%) had combined anterior and posterior pituitary dysfunction. Main aetiologies were idiopathic (315 [30%] of 1034 participants) and tumours and cysts (pre-surgical 217 [21%]; post-surgical 254 [25%]). 260 (26%; 95% CI [0·23-0·29]) of 994 patients on desmopressin therapy had hyponatraemia leading to hospitalisation. Patients who routinely omitted or delayed desmopressin to allow intermittent aquaresis had a significantly lower prevalence of hyponatraemia compared with those not aware of this approach (odds ratio 0·55 [95% CI 0·39-0·77]; p=0·0006). Of patients who had to be hospitalised for any medical reason, 71 (13%; 95% CI 0·10-0·16) of 535 patients did not receive desmopressin while in a fasting state (nil by mouth) without intravenous fluid replacement and reported symptoms of dehydration. 660 (64%; 0·61-0·67) participants reported lower quality of life, and 369 (36%; 0·33-0·39) had psychological changes subjectively associated with their central diabetes insipidus. 823 (80%; 0·77-0·82) participants encountered a situation where central diabetes insipidus was confused with diabetes mellitus (diabetes) by health-care professionals. 884 (85%; 0·83-0·88) participants supported renaming the disease; the most favoured alternative names were vasopressin deficiency and arginine vasopressin deficiency. Interpretation: This is the largest survey of patients with central diabetes insipidus, reporting a high prevalence of treatment-associated side-effects, mismanagement during hospitalisation, psychological comorbidities, and a clear support for renaming the disease. Our data are the first to indicate the value of routinely omitting or delaying desmopressin. Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, and G&J Bangerter-Rhyner-Foundation.
  • Severe symptomatic hypercalcemia in a patient with familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia

    Kurian, Roshini (2021)
    One of the less common causes of hypercalcemia is familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (FHH). It is an autosomal-dominant genetic condition, which presents asymptomatically in most patients while some may have mild symptoms. The serum calcium levels are mildly elevated with mild elevation in parathyroid hormone, which rarely requires management with pharmacologic agents. We present an unusual case report of a 76-year-old woman, confirmed to have FHH type 1 mutation, presented with symptomatic hypercalcemia probably set off by metabolic stresses of her age and needing intensive treatment with intravenous bisphosphonates, calcitonin and cinacalcet.