Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability among adults under 45 years of age. Despite a significant improvement in the management of these patients over the last 2 decades, one third of severely affected patients die and one third of survivors suffer from major functional impairment, which can be permanent.
Injuries to the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, are a frequently overlooked complication of TBI. Disorders of the pituitary gland can cause dysfunction of the thyroid, adrenals, ovaries and testes. These disorders may occur immediately or several months after the trauma, and have a significant negative impact on the quality of life and functional recovery of TBI survivors. In particular, common symptoms among victims of TBI such as fatigue, poor concentration, depression and low exercise capacity could be related to hormonal deficiencies.
We will conduct a knowledge synthesis project of currently available scientific data on pituitary disorders among victims of TBI. This synthesis will assess the frequency of this complication and factors favoring its occurrence. It will also help to better assess its impact on functional recovery and on rehabilitation capacities of TBI survivors. To inform stakeholders about the importance of this complication, our results will be disseminated to the clinicians involved in the care of TBI patients, to the government agencies involved in decisions that influence the management of these patients and to the TBI victims themselves through the different patient associations.
Finally, the results of our knowledge synthesis will identify knowledge gaps in the studies published so far and will help to plan further research aiming to improve the care and the outcomes of TBI victims with pituitary disorders.