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Horm Metab Res. 2010 Jun;42(6):411-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1252060. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

What we still do not know about adrenal vein sampling for primary aldosteronism.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-8857, USA.


During the last two decades, primary aldosteronism has emerged as the most common cause of secondary hypertension, and advances in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition have improved patient care substantially. A major stumbling block in the evaluation and management of these patients, which ultimately guides treatment and prognosis, is answering the question, "Which adrenal gland(s) produce aldosterone?" Adrenal vein sampling has emerged as the only reliable method to determine the answer to this question; however, the methodology and criteria for lateralization have been determined empirically with little prospective data. The major remaining controversies surrounding adrenal vein sampling include: who should perform and who should undergo the procedure; what criteria should be used to define a successful study and lateralization of aldosterone production; whether cosyntropin should be infused during the procedure and how; and what to do when results are ambiguous? This article reviews some of the advances in the execution of this procedure, the variations in procedure, the data that fuel the controversies, and the issues that need to be resolved in the future.

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