CT of Primary Hyperaldosteronism (Conns Syndrome):The Value of Measuring the Adrenal Gland
Lingam RK, Sohaib SA, Vlahos I, Rockall AG, Isidori AM, Monson JP, Grossman A, Reznek RH.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of our study of patients with primary hyperaldosteronism (Conns syndrome) were to determine whether the adrenal glands are larger in patients with bilateral adrenal hyperplasia than in those with aldosterone-producing adenomas or in healthy control subjects; and whether a CT criterion based on adrenal gland size can be developed to positively diagnose bilateral adrenal hyperplasia.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective study of CT scans of 28 patients with primary hyperaldosteronism was performed. The means of two observers measurements of adrenal gland size were recorded and compared with published normal values. In addition, a radiologist experienced in adrenal imaging and unaware of the cause of the primary hyperaldosteronism diagnosed either bilateral adrenal hyperplasia or aldosterone-producing adenoma by visual inspection.
RESULTS: The adrenal glands in patients with bilateral adrenal hyperplasia were significantly (p < 0.05) larger than those in patients with aldosterone-producing adenoma or in healthy control subjects. A sensitivity of 100% was achieved when a mean limb width of greater than 3 mm was used to diagnose bilateral adrenal hyperplasia, and a specificity of 100% was achieved when the mean limb width was 5 mm or greater. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that the overall performance of the radiologist and the mean adrenal limb width in detecting bilateral adrenal hyperplasia were equivalent.
CONCLUSION: In patients with primary hyperaldosteronism, adrenal limb measurements on CT can aid in differentiating bilateral adrenal hyperplasia from aldosterone-producing adenoma because the adrenal glands in bilateral adrenal hyperplasia are larger.