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Apoplexy is bleeding into an organ or loss of blood flow to an organ. For example,

  • Adrenal apoplexy: Bleeding into the adrenal glands
  • Pituitary apoplexy: Bleeding into the pituitary gland

Apoplexy refers to stroke symptoms that occur suddenly. Such symptoms occur due to bleeding into the brain. It can also occur by a blood clot in a brain blood vessel. Conditions such as subarachnoid hemorrhage or stroke are sometimes called apoplexy.

Functional apoplexy is when a person appears to be having stroke-like symptoms. However, there is no brain defect.


Goldstein LB. Approach to cerebrovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 406.

Sharma AN, Levy DL. Thyroid and adrenal disorders. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 128.

Update Date 1/10/2016