Increased visceral fat and sarcopenia are cardiovascular risk factors that may explain increased cardiovascular morbidity and frailty in patients with adrenal adenomas. Our objective was to compare body composition measurement of patients with adrenal adenomas to referent subjects without adrenal disease.
Cross-sectional study, 2014–2018.
Participants were adults with nonfunctioning adrenal tumor (NFAT), mild autonomous cortisol secretion (MACS), and Cushing syndrome (CS) and age, sex, and BMI 1:1 matched referent subjects without adrenal disorders. Main outcome measures were body composition measurements calculated from abdominal CT imaging. Intra-abdominal adipose tissue and muscle mass measurements were performed at the third lumbar spine level.
Of 227 patients with adrenal adenomas, 20 were diagnosed with CS, 76 with MACS, and 131 with NFAT. Median age was 56 years (range: 18–89), and 67% were women. When compared to referent subjects, patients with CS, MACS, and NFAT demonstrated a higher visceral fat (odds ratio (OR): 2.2 (95% CI: 0.9–6.5), 2.0 (1.3–3.2), and 1.8 (1.2–2.7) and a lower skeletal muscle area (OR: 0.01 (95% CI: 0–0.09), 0.31 (0.18–0.49), and 0.3 (1.2–2.7)) respectively. For every 1 µg/dL cortisol increase after overnight dexamethasone, visceral fat/muscle area ratio increased by 2.3 (P = 0.02) and mean total skeletal muscle area decreased by 2.2 cm2 (P = 0.03).
Patients with adrenal adenomas demonstrate a lower muscle mass and a higher proportion of visceral fat when compared to referent subjects, including patients with NFAT. Even a subtle abnormality in cortisol secretion may impact health of patients with adenomas.