Cranial irradiation may lead to accelerated atherosclerosis over several years. Stroke has been described after cranial irradiation administered for a number of conditions. However, pituitary irradiation has only rarely been associated with stroke.
Two patients, 39 and 46 years of age, suffered strokes 13 and 20 years, respectively, after irradiation for pituitary tumors. Strokes were in the territories of small perforating arteries, but large vessels such as the carotid siphon and anterior cerebral arteries were also abnormal. Other risk factors for stroke were absent.
It is suggested that pituitary irradiation increases the risk of subsequent stroke due to the known effects of ionizing radiation on vascular walls.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association