Context: Adrenal Cushing syndrome (CS) is a major subtype of CS and has a high surgical cure rate. However, only a few studies have investigated the epidemiology and long-term outcomes of adrenal CS.
Objective: We aimed to investigate the nationwide epidemiology, long-term prognosis, and postoperative glucocorticoid replacement therapies of adrenal CS in Korea.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: A nationwide claim database.
Patients: Adrenal CS patients who were defined as having undergone adrenalectomy, a diagnosis code of CS, and not having pituitary gland surgery.
Main outcome measures: Crude incidence and age-standardized incidence rates, long-term mortality, comorbidities diagnosed preoperatively or developed postoperatively, and the pattern of postoperative glucocorticoid replacement therapy.
Results: From 2002 to 2017, there were a total of 1199 new adrenal CS patients, including 72 patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (malignant adrenal CS), in Korea. The crude and age-standardized incidence rates were 1.51 and 1.27 per million person-years, respectively. The overall standardized mortality ratio was 3.0 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.4-3.7) for benign adrenal CS and 13.1 (95% CI, 7.6-18.6) for malignant adrenal CS. Adrenal CS patients had a high risk of having coronary artery disease, stroke, metabolic diseases, and depression. A similar proportion of patients were diagnosed with these comorbidities both preoperatively and postoperatively, suggesting a significant residual risk even after adrenalectomy. The median time of postoperative glucocorticoid replacement therapy was 10.1 months, and the major types of glucocorticoids used were prednisolone (66.6%) and hydrocortisone (22.4%).
Conclusions: Adrenal CS is associated with multiple comorbidities even after treatment, which necessitates meticulous postoperative care.
Keywords: adrenal Cushing syndrome; comorbidity; epidemiology; postoperative glucocorticoid replacement.
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