Apoplexy is bleeding into a cavity or organ. There are various forms of apoplexy, including adrenal apoplexy (ie, bleeding into adrenal glands) and pituitary apoplexy (ie, bleeding into the pituitary gland).

Pituitary Gland

© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.


Apoplexy may be caused by:

  • Expansion of a tumor
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Blood clot
  • Limited venous drainage
  • Acute illness
  • Drastic changes in blood volume or blood pressure
  • Blood coagulation disorders

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following factors increase your chance of developing apoplexy. If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor:

  • Hormonal insufficiency
  • Previous surgery
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Injury


If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to apoplexy. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of vision
  • Double vision
  • Altered mental status
  • Pain
  • Fatigue


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include the following:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan]]> —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
  • ]]>Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)]]> —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
  • ]]>Ultrasound]]> —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body

Abdominal Ultrasound

© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Once you have been stabilized, treatment options include the following, depending on the cause and location of your apoplexy:

  • Medications—Corticosteroids or hormonal therapies may be used to correct hormonal imbalances.
  • Surgery—If the apoplexy was caused by a tumor, the tumor may be surgically removed.


There is no known way to prevent apoplexy.