Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cushing's Syndrome after Hemodialysis for 21 Years

Koki Mise, Yoshifumi Ubara, Keiichi Sumida, Rikako Hiramatsu, Eiko Hasegawa, Masayuki Yamanouchi, Noriko Hayami, Tatsuya Suwabe, Junichi Hoshino, Naoki Sawa, Masaji Hashimoto, Takeshi Fujii, Hironobu Sasano and Kenmei Takaichi

- Author Affiliations

Nephrology Center (K.M., Y.U., K.S., R.H., E.H., M.Y., N.H., T.S., J.H., N.S., K.T.), Surgical Gastroenterology (M.H.), Pathology (T.F.), and Okinaka Memorial Institute for Medical Research (Y.U., K.T.), Toranomon Hospital, 1058470 Tokyo, Japan; and Department of Pathology (H.S.), Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 9800872 Sendai, Japan

Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Koki Mise, M.D., Nephrology Center, Toranomon Hospital Kajigaya, 1-3-1, Kajigaya, Takatu-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken, 213-0015, Japan. E-mail:


Context: Hyperkalemia and weight loss are critical clinical problems for hemodialysis patients. There have been no documented reports of adrenal Cushing's syndrome with central obesity and hypokalemia in a hemodialysis patient.

Objective: The aim of the study was to report a patient with Cushing's syndrome after chronic hemodialysis, review the published literature, and discuss the significance of hypokalemia and obesity in anuric hemodialysis patients from the perspective of cortisol metabolism.

Patient: A 61-yr-old woman who had been on hemodialysis for 21 yr presented with persistent hypokalemia and central obesity. In 2002, her dry weight was 48.1 kg, but thereafter she gained weight to 60 kg.

Results: Adrenal Cushing's syndrome was diagnosed from endocrinological findings such as increased cortisol secretion without a circadian rhythm and suppression of plasma ACTH. Spironolactone was administered (25 to 50 mg/d), and her serum potassium became normal. Then, left adrenalectomy was performed by laparoscopic surgery. The resected specimen contained a well-circumscribed adrenal adenoma expressing P450c17. After surgery, hypokalemia improved gradually without medication, and her weight gain stopped.

Conclusions: This is the first documented case of adrenal Cushing's syndrome in a patient on long-term hemodialysis, although several authors have reported a relation between hypokalemia and primary hyperaldosteronism in hemodialysis patients.

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