What is Adrenal Gland Vein Sampling?

Adrenal vein sampling is a procedure where blood samples are taken from both adrenal glands to compare the amount of hormone produced by each. Samples are taken by placing a catheter (a fine plastic tube) into the the veins of the groin. Contrast is injected to evaluate the veins and aid in proper sampling of the adrenal glands and associated veins. The results of these blood samples provide valuable information for the treatment of high blood pressure.

The adrenal glands discharge many hormones. One of the primary hormones is aldosterone, which balances potassium and sodium in the blood stream. An imbalance between these two things can cause aldosteronism, leading to high blood pressure. To prevent risking this condition, adrenal vein sampling is performed.

The Procedure

A member of Dr. Tilara’s staff will draw blood from both the right and left adrenal veins. At that time the two samples will be compared to see if the aldosterone levels are the same or if one is significantly higher than the other. If one side has a higher aldosterone level, there might be a presence of an adenoma.

Conditions for Adrenal Vein Sampling:

  • Primary aldosteronism
  • Aldosterone-producing adenoma
  • Bilateral idiopathic hyperaldosteronism
  • Moderate to severe high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure that takes several medications to control (resistant hypertension)
  • High blood pressure with low potassium levels (hypokalemia)

Risk Factors

  • 45+ years old
  • Have a family history of high blood pressure
  • You’re overweight
  • You have an inactive lifestyle
  • You use tobacco
  • You consume a lot of alcohol
  • You have dietary imbalances (too much salt, not enough potassium)

Future Complications:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy—enlargement of the muscle that makes up the wall of the left ventricle, one of your heart’s pumping chambers
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Premature death