Performance of renin assays in selecting fludrocortisone dose in children with adrenal disorders

Endocr Connect. 2024 Jan 22;13(2):e230370. doi: 10.1530/EC-23-0370. Print 2024 Feb 1.


Children with salt-wasting adrenal insufficiency are managed with glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid replacement. Measurement of renin activity or concentration alongside blood electrolyte levels is used to monitor the adequacy of mineralocorticoid replacement. Our unit changed from using renin activity to renin concentration and carried out a service review to assess whether this influenced decision-making for fludrocortisone dosing. In total, 50 measurements of plasma renin activity and 50 of renin concentration were analysed on separate cohorts before and after the assay change, with values standardised to multiples of the upper limit of normal (MoU) to allow comparison between assays. We were more likely to increase the fludrocortisone dose for a raised renin concentration than a raised renin activity. The renin concentration MoU was more strongly related to plasma sodium (negatively) and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone (17α-OHP) (positively) than the renin activity MoU. Using a MoU cut-off of 1.5, a decision to increase the dose of fludrocortisone was more likely to be made when using the renin concentration assay compared with the activity assay. Using a cut-off of 40 nmol/L for 17α-OHP, a decision not to change the fludrocortisone dose when 17α-OHP was <40 was more likely when using the renin concentration assay. For both assays, a plasma sodium <140 mmol/L was more likely to lead to a fludrocortisone dose increase, and most likely for the renin concentration assay. Overall, the decision to adjust fludrocortisone dose in this cohort of children with adrenal insufficiency was better supported by the biochemical parameters when based on renin concentration results and clinical status.

Keywords: adrenal disorders; children; fludrocortisone; renin assays.