OBJECT: Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a common complication of transsphenoidal surgery. The purpose of this study was to elucidate patient- and surgery-specific risk factors for DI. METHODS: The perioperative records of 881 patients who had undergone transsphenoidal microsurgery at the authors' institution between January 1995 and June 2001 were reviewed. Among 857 patients without preoperative DI, the overall incidence of immediate postoperative DI was 18.3%, with 12.4% of patients requiring treatment with desmopressin at some point during their hospitalization. Persistent DI requiring long-term treatment with desmopressin was noted in 2% of all patients. An observable intraoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak was strongly associated with an increased incidence of both transient (33.3%) and persistent (4.4%) DI. Craniopharyngioma and Rathke cleft cyst (RCC) were also associated with an increased incidence of transient and persistent DI, whereas repeated operation was not. Among patients with pituitary adenomas, those with Cushing's disease had an increased risk of transient (22.2%), but not persistent, DI. Patients with a microadenoma were more likely to suffer transient DI than those harboring a macroadenoma (21.6 compared with 14.3%) but were not more likely to experience persistent DI. CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes insipidus remains a common complication of transsphenoidal surgery; however, it is most frequently transient in nature. Patients with an intraoperative CSF leak, a microadenoma, a craniopharyngioma, or an RCC appear to have an increased risk of transient DI. Risk factors for persistent DI include an intraoperative CSF leak, a craniopharyngioma, or an RCC.
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