Adrenal venous sampling is considered to be the most reliable diagnostic procedure to lateralize aldosterone excess in primary aldosteronism (PA). However, normative criteria have not been established partially because of a lack of data in non-PA hypertensive patients. The aim of the study was to investigate aldosterone concentration and its gradient in the adrenal vein of non-PA hypertensive patients. We retrospectively studied the results of cosyntropin-stimulated adrenal venous sampling in 40 hypertensive patients who showed positive screening testing but negative results in 2 confirmatory tests/captopril challenge test and saline infusion test. Plasma aldosterone concentration, aldosterone/cortisol ratio, its higher/lower ratio (lateralization index) in the adrenal vein with cosyntropin stimulation were measured. Median plasma aldosterone concentration in the adrenal vein was 25 819 pg/mL (range, 5154-69 920) in the higher side and 12 953 (range, 1866-36 190) pg/mL in the lower side (P<0.001). There was a significant gradient in aldosterone/cortisol ratio between the higher and the lower sides (27.2 [5.4-66.0] versus 17.3 [4.0-59.0] pg/mL per μg/dL; P<0.001) with lateralization index ranging from 1.01 to 3.87. The aldosterone lateralization gradient was between 1 to 2 in 32 patients and 2 to 4 in 8 patients. None of the patients showed lateralization index ≥4. The present study demonstrated that plasma aldosterone concentration in the adrenal veins showed significant variation and lateralization gradient even in non-PA hypertensive patients. Adrenal venous sampling aldosterone lateralization gradients between 2 and 4 should be interpreted with caution in patients with PA because these gradients can be found even in patients with negative confirmatory testing for PA.
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