How does bilateral adrenalectomy cause acute Addison disease?

Updated: Mar 11, 2020
  • Author: George T Griffing, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Bilateral adrenalectomy for any reason

  • The surgical removal of a unilateral cortisol-producing adrenal adenoma in a patient with Cushing syndrome can cause an acute adrenal crisis from secondary adrenocortical insufficiency.

  • This is due to the atrophy of the normal adrenal cortex from lack of the stimulant effect of pituitary ACTH.

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