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Improved Quality of Life After Bilateral Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy for Cushing's Disease: A 10-Year Experience

Thompson, Sarah K. MD*; Hayman, Amanda V. MD, MPH*; Ludlam, William H. MD, PhD†; Deveney, Clifford W. MD*; Loriaux, D Lynn MD, PhD†; Sheppard, Brett C. MD*

doi: 10.1097/01.sla.0000251578.03883.2f
Original Articles

Objective: To determine long-term quality of life after bilateral adrenalectomy for persistent Cushing's disease after transsphenoidal pituitary tumor resection.

Summary Background Data: Bilateral adrenalectomy for symptomatic relief of persistent hypercortisolism appears to be an effective treatment option. However, few studies have examined long-term outcomes in this patient population.

Methods: Retrospective review of 39 patients treated by bilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy for Cushing's disease from 1994 to 2004. Patients completed a follow-up phone survey, including our Cushing-specific questionnaire and the SF-12v2 health survey. Patients then refrained from taking their steroid replacement for 24 hours, and serum cortisol and ACTH levels were measured.

Results: Three patients died at 12, 19, and 50 months following surgery from causes unrelated to adrenalectomy. The remaining 36 patients all responded to the study questionnaire (100% response rate). Patients were between 3 months and 10 years post-adrenalectomy. We had zero operative mortalities and a 10.3% morbidity rate. Our incidence of Nelson's syndrome requiring clinical intervention was 8.3%; 89% of patients reported an improvement in their Cushing-related symptoms, and 91.7% would undergo the same treatment again. Twenty of 36 (55%) and 29 of 36 (81%) patients fell within the top two thirds of the national average for physical and mental composite scores, respectively, on the SF-12v2 survey. An undetectable serum cortisol level was found in 79.4% of patients.

Conclusions: Laparoscopic bilateral adrenalectomy for symptomatic Cushing's disease is a safe and effective treatment option. The majority of patients experience considerable improvement in their Cushing's disease symptoms, and their quality of life equals that of patients initially cured by transsphenoidal pituitary tumor resection.

Bilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy for refractory Cushing's disease is a safe and effective treatment option. The majority of patients experience considerable improvement in their Cushing's disease symptoms, and their quality of life equals that of patients initially cured by transsphenoidal pituitary tumor resection.

From the Departments of *Surgery, and †Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.

Reprints: Brett C. Sheppard, MD, Department of Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Mail Code: L223A, Portland, OR 97239. E-mail: sheppard@ohsu.edu.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.