European journal of endocrinology

Favorable long-term outcomes of bilateral adrenalectomy in Cushing's disease.

PMID 24975318


Bilateral adrenalectomy (BADX) is an important treatment option for patients with Cushing's syndrome (CS). Our aim is to analyze the long-term outcomes, surgical, biochemical, and clinical as well as morbidity and mortality, of patients who underwent BADX. A total of 50 patients who underwent BADX since 1990 in two German centers were identified. Of them, 34 patients had Cushing's disease (CD), nine ectopic CS (ECS), and seven ACTH-independent bilateral adrenal hyperplasia (BAH). Standardized follow-up examination was performed in 36 patients with a minimum follow-up time of 6 months after BADX and a median follow-up time of 11 years. Surgical morbidity and mortality were 6 and 4% respectively. All patients were found to be in remission after BADX. Almost all Cushing's-specific comorbidities except for psychiatric diseases improved significantly. Health-related quality of life remained impaired in 45.0% of female and 16.7% of male patients compared with a healthy population. The median number of adrenal crises per 100 patient-years was four. Nelson tumor occurred in 24% of CD patients after a median time span of 51 months. Long-term mortality after 10 years was high in ECS (44%) compared with CD (3%) and BAH (14%). BADX is an effective and relatively safe treatment option especially in patients with CD. The majority of patients experience considerable improvement of Cushing's symptoms.