Background: Obese patients may have unrecognized primary aldosteronism due to high rates of concomitant hypertension. We hypothesized that obesity impacts the diagnosis and management of patients with primary aldosteronism.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of all primary aldosteronism patients (n = 418) who underwent adrenal vein sampling (1997-2017). Patients were classified by body mass index as obese (body mass index ≥35) or nonobese (body mass index <35) and diagnostic evaluation was compared between groups. Within the operative cohort (n = 285), primary outcomes were changes in both blood pressure and antihypertensive medications after adrenalectomy. Secondary outcome was clinical resolution by Primary Aldosteronism Surgery Outcomes criteria.
Results: Thirty-five percent of patients were obese. Obese patients were more likely to be male (67.8% vs 56.1%, P = .025), somewhat younger (51.5 vs 54.4 years old, P < .012), and require more preoperative antihypertensive medications (6.7 vs 5.7, P = .04) than nonobese patients. Obese patients had lesser rates of radiologic evidence of adrenal tumors (68.4 vs 77.9%, P = .038) despite similar rates of lateralization on adrenal vein sampling. In the operative subset, obese patients had somewhat smaller tumors on final pathology (1.1 vs 1.5 cm, P = .014) but similar rates of complete and partial clinical resolution (P = 1.000).
Conclusion: Obese primary aldosteronism patients have lesser rates of localization by imaging, likely due to smaller tumor size, however, experience similar benefit from adrenalectomy.
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