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Br J Surg. 2002 Dec;89(12):1587-93.

Long-term follow-up and cost benefit of adrenalectomy in patients with primary hyperaldosteronism.

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Tom Baker Cancer Center and University of Calgary, and Division of General Surgery and Division of Surgical Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term efficacy of adrenalectomy on blood pressure control in patients with primary hyperaldosteronism (HA), and to analyse the cost of adrenalectomy compared with non-surgical management of HA over the patient's lifetime.


All patients who underwent an adrenalectomy for HA were recalled to the endocrine surgical clinic. Data gathered included blood pressure, aldosterone : renin ratios and medication. Total costs for adrenalectomy and ongoing medications were compared with the estimated costs of lifelong medical therapy alone.


Twenty-four adrenalectomies were performed for HA, with one death. The mean follow-up was 42 (range 13-97) months. Long term, there was a significant decrease in both the mean diastolic and systolic blood pressure. The aldosterone : renin ratio decreased in 21 patients. Of these patients, 20 were either off all antihypertensives (eight) or had a reduction in medication (12). An increased aldosterone : renin ratio occurred in two patients, both of whom required an increase in antihypertensive medication. Using the predicted life expectancy, the mean estimated cost savings over the lifetime of each patient undergoing adrenalectomy compared with medication alone was Canadian $31 132.


Adrenalectomy for HA resulted in significant long-term reduction in blood pressure. Adrenalectomy for HA is a significantly less expensive than long-term medical therapy alone.

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