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November 1958

Adrenalectomy for Severe HypertensionA Follow-Up Report

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical and Medical Services, Veterans' Administration Medical Teaching Group, Kennedy Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1958;77(5):699-702. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1958.01290040047005

In 1954 a report was published describing bilateral adrenalectomy for patients with severe hypertension.1,2 These operations were performed in what now can be termed the "pre-drug era," when the effectiveness of hypotensive drugs was not established. Consequently, the follow-up studies are made on a group of nine patients whose postoperative period is now four to six and one-half years. Obviously, when drugs became available, adrenalectomy was abandoned because one must induce hypoadrenalism to accomplish surgical relief by adrenalectomy. The hypoadrenalism is a major illness in itself, and the operation must not be used except for patients with severe hypertension whose tension is uncontrollable by other means. A few patients were subjected to bilateral adrenalectomy in the "post-drug era" when the drugs failed to invoke a desirable lowering of the blood pressure, but the surgical results were not good because most of the patients were too ill then to tolerate

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