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Surgery. 2010 Dec;148(6):1178-85; discussion 1185. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2010.09.012.

The management of aldosterone-producing adrenal adenomas--does adrenalectomy increase costs?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.



Most experts agree that primary hyperaldosteronism (PHA) caused by an aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA) is best treated by adrenalectomy. From a public health standpoint, the cost of treatment must be considered. We sought to compare the current guideline-based (surgical) strategy with universal pharmacologic management to determine the optimal strategy from a cost perspective.


A decision analysis was performed using a Markov state transition model comparing the strategies for PHA treatment. Pharmacologic management for all patients with PHA was compared with a strategy of screening for and resecting an aldosterone-producing adenoma. Success rates were determined for treatment outcomes based on a literature review. Medicare reimbursement rates were calculated to estimate costs from a third-party payer perspective.


Screening for and resecting APAs was the least costly strategy in this model. For a reference patient with 41 remaining years of life, the discounted expected cost of the surgical strategy was $27,821. The discounted expected cost of the medical strategy was $34,691. The cost of adrenalectomy would have to increase by 156% to $22,525 from $8,784 for universal pharmacologic therapy to be less costly. Screening for APA is more costly if fewer than 9.6% of PHA patients have resectable APA.


Resection of APAs was the least costly treatment strategy in this decision analysis model.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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