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Frederick-Anthony Farrugia, Evangelos Misiakos, Georgios Martikos, Panagiotis Tzanetis, Anestis Charalampopoulos, Nicolaos Zavras, Dimitrios Sotiropoulos and Nikolaos Koliakos

Abstract

Objectives. To present a step by step approach for the diagnosis of adrenal incidentaloma (AI).

Method. An extensive review of the literature was conducted, searching the Pub-Med and Google Scholar using the Mesh terms; Adrenal; Incidentaloma; Adrenal tumours; Radiology; Diagnosis. We also did a cross-referencing search of the literature. Comments on the new European guidelines are presented.

Results. The majority of the tumours are non-functioning benign adenomas. The most important radiological characteristic of an adrenal incidentaloma is the radiation attenuation coefficient. Wash out percentage and the imaging characteristics of the tumour may help in diagnosis.

Conclusion. Density less than 10 HU is in most cases characteristic of a lipid rich benign adenoma. More than 10 HU or/and history of malignancy raise the possibility for cancer. 1 mg dexamethasone test and plasma metanephrines should be done in all patients. If there is history of hypokalemia and/or resistant hypertension we test the plasma aldosterone to plasma renin ratio (ARR). Newer studies have shown that tumours even nonfunctioning and less than 4 cm may increase the metabolic risks so we may consider surgery at an earlier stage.

Open access

Frederick-Anthony Farrugia, Nicolaos Zavras, Georgios Martikos, Panagiotis Tzanetis, Anestis Charalampopoulos, Evangelos P. Misiakos, Dimitrios Sotiropoulos and Nikolaos Koliakos

Abstract

Objectives. The aim of this study was to present up to date information concerning the diagnosis and treatment of primary aldosteronism (PA). PA is the most common cause of endocrine hypertension. It has been reported up to 24% of selective referred hypertensive patients. Methods. We did a search in Pub-Med and Google Scholar using the terms: PA, hyperaldosteronism, idiopathic adrenal hyperplasia, diagnosis of PA, mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, adrenalectomy, and surgery. We also did cross-referencing search with the above terms. We had divided our study into five sections: Introduction, Diagnosis, Genetics, Treatment, and Conclusions. We present our results in a question and answer fashion in order to make reading more interesting. Results. PA should be searched in all high-risk populations. The gold standard for diagnosis PA is the plasma aldosterone/plasma renin ratio (ARR). If this test is positive, then we proceed with one of the four confirmatory tests. If positive, then we proceed with a localizing technique like adrenal vein sampling (AVS) and CT scan. If the lesion is unilateral, after proper preoperative preparation, we proceed, in adrenalectomy. If the lesion is bilateral or the patient refuses or is not fit for surgery, we treat them with mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, usually spironolactone. Conclusions. Primary aldosteronism is the most common and a treatable case of secondary hypertension. Only patients with unilateral adrenal diseases are eligible for surgery, while patients with bilateral and non-surgically correctable PA are usually treated by mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist (MRA). Thus, the distinction between unilateral and bilateral aldosterone hypersecretion is crucial.