Clinical consequences of Cushing's syndrome

Elena Valassi, Iris Crespo, Alicia Santos, Susan M. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Recent evidence suggests that correction of hypercortisolism in Cushing's syndrome (CS) may not lead to complete remission of the clinical abnormalities associated with this condition. In particular, elevated cardiovascular risk may persist in ''cured'' CS patients long-term after eucortisolism has been reached. This is believed to be related with the maintenance of visceral obesity and altered adipokine secretory pattern which perpetuate features of metabolic syndrome, including impaired glucose tolerance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis and hypercoagulability. Nephrolithiasis and incomplete recovery of bone mineral density have also been described in ''cured'' CS patients. Moreover, previous exposure to excess cortisol may have irreversible effects on the structures of the central nervous system controlling cognitive function and mood. Thus, sustained deterioration of the cardiovascular system, bone remodelling and cognitive function may be associated with high morbidity and poor quality of life in CS patients in remission for many years. Although mortality in ''cured'' CS patients may not differ from that in the general population, data beyond 20 years follow-up are very scarce, so further studies evaluating larger cohorts for longer follow-up periods are needed to draw definitive conclusions on longevity. Life-long monitoring is mandatory in CS patients in order to control long term complications of previous cortisol excess and, possibly, normalize life expectancy. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-329
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012


  • Co-morbidities
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Remission


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