Fourteen male patients with chronic bronchitis and hypoxia had a lateral radiograph of the pituitary fossa. Nine of the 14 had definite or probable abnormalities, a significantly higher frequency (p less than or equal to 0.01) than is represented by the two out of 14 age-matched men from a control group with head injuries. The most common change was thinning or erosion of the lamina dura. Patients with hypercapnia were no more prone to such abnormalities than were those with normocapnia, a finding that conflicts with a previous paper. We confirm that radiological pituitary fossa changes do occur in chronic bronchitis, that they are unrelated to steroid treatment, and that they are probably not solely due to the chronically raised intracranial pressure associated with hypercapnia. Other possible mechanisms are discussed--in particular hypoxia, which might produce changes on account of the increased cerebral blood flow and engorged intracranial blood vessels.
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