Hypocortisolism in survivors of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
Article first published online: 5 JUL 2005
Volume 63, Issue 2, pages 197–202, August 2005
How to Cite
Leow, M. K.-S., Kwek, D. S.-K., Ng, A. W.-K., Ong, K.-C., Kaw, G. J.-L. and Lee, L. S.-U. (2005), Hypocortisolism in survivors of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Clinical Endocrinology, 63: 197–202. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2005.02325.x
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2005
- Article first published online: 5 JUL 2005
- (Received 3 February 2005; returned for revision 10 March 2005; finally revised 19 April 2005; accepted 7 June 2005)
Objective Following the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, many survivors were observed to suffer from psychosomatic symptoms reminiscent of various endocrine disorders. Hence, we sought to determine the existence of any chronic endocrine sequelae in SARS survivors.
Design, patients, measurements Sixty-one survivors of SARS prospectively recruited were analysed for hormonal derangements 3 months following recovery. Patients with pre-existing endocrine disorders were excluded. Any endocrine abnormalities diagnosed were investigated and treated where indicated up to a year. Serial evaluation facilitated characterization of trends and prognostication of any endocrinological aberrations.
Results Twenty-four (39·3%) patients had evidence of hypocortisolism. The hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction of the majority resolved within a year. Two (3·3%) of the hypocortisolic cohort had transient subclinical thyrotoxicosis. Four (6·7%) were biochemically hypothyroid, being comprised of three with central hypothyroidism and one with primary hypothyroidism. Two of the three with central hypothyroidism had concomitant central hypocortisolism. Eight had subnormal DHEAS levels.
Conclusions These preliminary findings highlight a possible aetiologic role of SARS-associated coronavirus in causing a reversible hypophysitis or direct hypothalamic effect, with the HPA axis affected more frequently than the HPT axis.