10 October 2016

Society for Endocrinology publishes guidance documents to tackle life-threatening endocrine emergencies

The Society for Endocrinology has today issued clinical guidance on the treatment of five life-threatening endocrine emergencies. Published in Endocrine Connections, the guidance will help non-endocrinology specialists better identify and tackle these poorly-understood conditions and avoid unnecessary deaths.

Endocrine emergencies can be life-threatening if non-endocrine healthcare professionals delay treatment due to not recognising symptoms. Each of the five new guidance documents has been written by endocrinologists with extensive experience and expertise for each relevant condition. Each guide considers the most up to date evidence available and has been peer-reviewed by the Society for Endocrinology Clinical Committee.

The five guidance documents cover:

·         Acute adrenal insufficiency
o   The guidance outlines key points in the recognition, management and treatment of this often under-recognised endocrine emergency
·         Severe symptomatic hyponatraemia
o    The particular strength of this guidance is that it emphasises the importance of assessing the severity of acute hyponatraemia and treating accordingly in the first instance
·         Acute hypocalcaemia
o   The guidance discusses the key causes and immediate management of the condition
·         Acute hypercalcaemia
o    The guidance points out the first step is rehydration with normal saline, and intravenous zoledronic acid is now the bisphosphonate of choice
·         Pituitary apoplexy
o   The guidance emphasises that this condition must be considered in patients with acute severe headache, visual defects and/or impairment of consciousness.
The guidance documents are available to download free from Endocrine Connections and the Society for Endocrinology website.

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