A clinical prediction score to diagnose unilateral primary aldosteronism

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Oct;97(10):3530-7. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-1917. Epub 2012 Aug 23.


Context: Adrenal venous sampling is recommended to assess whether aldosterone hypersecretion is lateralized in patients with primary aldosteronism. However, this procedure is invasive, poorly standardized, and not widely available.

Objective: Our goal was to identify patients' characteristics that can predict unilateral aldosterone hypersecretion in some patients who could hence bypass adrenal venous sampling before surgery.

Design and setting: A cross-sectional diagnostic study was performed from February 2009 to July 2010 at a single center specialized in hypertension care.

Patients: A total of 101 consecutive patients with primary aldosteronism who underwent adrenal venous sampling participated in the study. The autonomy of aldosterone hypersecretion was assessed with the saline infusion test.

Intervention: Adrenal venous sampling was performed without ACTH infusion but with simultaneous bilateral sampling.

Main outcome measures: Variables independently associated with a lateralized adrenal venous sampling in multivariate logistic regression were used to derive a clinical prediction rule.

Results: Adrenal venous sampling was successful in 87 patients and lateralized in 49. All 26 patients with a typical Conn's adenoma plus serum potassium of less than 3.5 mmol/liter or estimated glomerular filtration rate of at least 100 ml/min/1.73 m2 (or both) had unilateral primary aldosteronism; this rule had 100% specificity (95% confidence interval, 91-100) and 53% sensitivity (95% confidence interval, 38-68).

Conclusions: If our results are validated on an independent sample, adrenal venous sampling could be omitted before surgery in patients with a typical Conn's adenoma if they meet at least one of two supplementary biochemical characteristics (serum potassium<3.5 mmol/liter or estimated glomerular filtration rate ≥100 ml/min/1.73 m2).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex / blood supply
  • Adrenal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / blood
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / surgery
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Adrenocortical Adenoma / blood
  • Adrenocortical Adenoma / diagnosis
  • Adrenocortical Adenoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aldosterone / blood*
  • Aldosterone / metabolism*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Endocrine / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism / blood
  • Hyperaldosteronism / diagnosis*
  • Hyperaldosteronism / surgery
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Care / standards
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Veins


  • Aldosterone