Adrenal calcification is not a rare finding in healthy asymptomatic people and is usually the result of previous hemorrhage, or tuberculosis. Addison's disease patients only occasionally have calcification.
- sepsis: Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome
- blunt abdominal trauma
- adrenal pseudocyst
- neonatal asphyxia
- infants: calcification seen soon after hemorrhage (as early as 1-2 weeks)
- adrenal metastases, especially melanoma
- adrenal myelolipoma
- adrenal adenoma
- adrenocortical carcinoma
- uncommon in primary Addison disease; calcification suggests an underlying cause (e.g. infection)
- Wolman disease
Adrenal calcification is best assessed on CT where it can be differentiated from a calcified adrenal mass or lesion. CT also allows simultaneous characterization of any underlying lesions with size, density, enhancement and washout.
In children, neuroblastoma has been reported as the commonest calcifying adrenal mass 4. In adults, simple calcified cysts have been reported as common adrenal masses, characteristically showing peripheral curvilinear calcification.
Post-hemorrhage calcification is usually seen after the initial adrenal hematoma has resolved and, hence, is not usually seen with an adrenal lesion. However, adrenal metastases such as from bronchogenic tumors can present with hemorrhage, making the diagnosis challenging.