Adrenal vein sampling (AVS) represents the current diagnostic standard for subtype differentiation in primary aldosteronism (PA). However, AVS has its drawbacks. It is invasive, expensive, requires an experienced interventional radiologist and comes with radiation exposure. However, exact radiation exposure of patients undergoing AVS has never been examined.
Design and methods
We retrospectively analyzed radiation exposure of 656 AVS performed between 1999 and 2017 at four university hospitals. The primary outcomes were dose area product (DAP) and fluoroscopy time (FT). Consecutively the effective dose (ED) was approximately calculated.
Median DAP was found to be 32.5 Gy*cm2 (0.3–3181) and FT 18 min (0.3–184). The calculated ED was 6.4 mSv (0.1–636). Remarkably, values between participating centers highly varied: Median DAP ranged from 16 to 147 Gy*cm2, FT from 16 to 27 min, and ED from 3.2 to 29 mSv. As main reason for this variation, differences regarding AVS protocols between centers could be identified, such as number of sampling locations, frames per second and the use of digital subtraction angiographies.
This first systematic assessment of radiation exposure in AVS not only shows fairly high values for patients, but also states notable differences among the centers. Thus, we not only recommend taking into account the risk of radiation exposure, when referring patients to undergo AVS, but also to establish improved standard operating procedures to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure.