I’ve been reading accounts of AVS over at the Yahoo Hyperaldosteronism message board (member-only, but easy to join). There has been a bit of debate as to whether or not AVS is necessary – lots of talk of skipping it and going straight to surgery. There have also been accounts of people whose PA turned out to be bilateral, something that can only be found via AVS. The following is from one of those people.
I had my AVS done at the University of Michigan by Dr. Cho, an interventional radiologist. Different hospitals have different protocols, some want you to go off all medications before AVS but the UM does not. I was very glad to hear this since I feel very, very bad when not taking spiro. Dr. Cho spoke to me in the pre-op area and told me that he had done over 600 AVS and explained the test to me in detail. He also explained potential complications, including rupture of a vein, infarction of an adrenal gland and adrenal hemorrhage – all which would require admission to the hospital. He was pleasant and answered all my questions in an unhurried manner.
I signed my permit and the nurse started an IV and took my vital signs and a brief history of my problems. When I was taken to the procedure room I was given 1 mg of Versed and 50 mcg of Fentanyl, which made me feel quite mellow. I was not asleep during the procedure but felt no pain. A local anesthetic was injected into my right groin and I felt only slight pressure when the catheter was inserted. I could see the catheter being manipulated on the fluoro screen and it was interesting to watch. They took blood samples from the various areas and had no problem cannulating both of my adrenal veins. After the catheter was removed a tech held pressure on the area for about 10 minutes, then applied a bandaid to the site.
In the recovery area I had to lie flat for one hour and keep my right leg straight, but that did not keep me
from scarfing down a sandwich and juice. My vital signs were monitored for one hour and then I was discharged. I was told that I might have some minor pain in the groin site but Tylenol should take care of it. I had no pain at all and the next day could barely see the insertion site when I removed the bandaid.
My AVS was a piece of cake but I realize others have not been as fortunate. My advice to anyone having an AVS is to ask the radiologist before hand how many AVS he has performed. Then ask him how many were SUCESSFULLY performed and what his complication rate is. Also, get a price first or have very good insurance. These puppies ain’t cheap and the price varies tremendously. One member here got a bill for $27,000 for his AVS.
That’s basically the best I can hope for. Doesn’t sound *too* scary, except for that bit at the end about insurance.