Objectives Adrenal vein sampling (AVS) is the standard criterion for the subtype diagnosis in primary aldosteronism (PA). Although lateralized index (LI) ≥4 after cosyntropin stimulation is the commonly recommended cut-off for unilateral aldosterone hypersecretion, many of the referral centres in the world use LI cut-off of <4 without sufficient evidence for its diagnostic accuracy. Aim The aim of the study was to establish the diagnostic significance of contralateral (CL) aldosterone suppression for the subtype diagnosis in patients with LI <4 in AVS. Design and patients A retrospective multicentre study was conducted in Japan. Of 124 PA patients subjected to unilateral adrenalectomy after successful AVS with cosyntropin administration, 29 patients with LI < 4 were included in the study. The patients were divided into Group A with CL suppression (n = 16) and Group B (n = 13) without CL suppression. Three outcome indices were assessed after 6 months postoperatively: normalization/significant improvement of hypertension, normalization of the aldosterone to renin ratio (ARR) and normalization of hypokalaemia. Results The normalization/significant improvement of hypertension was 81% in Group A and 54% in Group B (P = 0·2). The normalization of ARR was 100% in Group A and 46% in Group B (P = 0·004). Hypokalaemia was normalized in all patients of both groups. The overall cure rate of PA based on meeting all the three criteria was 81% in Group A and 31% in Group B (P = 0·01). Conclusions In patients with PA, where the LI is <4 on AVS, CL suppression of aldosterone is an accurate predictor of a unilateral source of aldosterone excess. CL suppression data should be interpreted in conjunction with computed tomographic adrenal imaging findings to guide surgical management.
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