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Eur J Endocrinol. 2004 Mar;150(3):329-37.

Diagnosis of primary aldosteronism: value of different screening parameters and influence of antihypertensive medication.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Medical Department II, Klinikum of the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany. seiler@medizin.ukl.uni-freiburg.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of different screening techniques for primary aldosteronism (PA), including serum aldosterone (SA), plasma renin activity (PRA) and the SA/PRA ratio in hypertensive patients of a tertiary-care centre. Furthermore, the influence of antihypertensive medication on SA and the SA/PRA ratio were studied.

DESIGN:

Clinical records of 425 hypertensive patients who had SA and PRA measurements over a 27-month period were analysed retrospectively. Eighty patients were excluded from further analysis because of incomplete data. The remaining 345 patients were classified into the following groups: patients with essential hypertension (EH) (n=260, 75.4%), patients with PA (n=49, 14.2%) and patients with secondary hypertension other than PA (n=36, 10.4%). Diagnosis of PA was made in accordance with established laboratory criteria (including measurements of SA, PRA, urinary excretion of aldosterone and metabolites, imaging techniques and response to treatment).

RESULTS:

Although mean serum potassium values were significantly lower (P<0.001) in the PA group compared with the EH group, 61% of PA subjects were normokalaemic (3.4-5.2 mmol/l). The SA/PRA ratio alone identified 94% of the patients with PA, but was false positive in 30% of the patients with EH. The SA/PRA ratio together with SA>150 g/ml increased the diagnostic accuracy, led to the correct identification of 84% of the patients with PA, and decreased the false-positive rate to 3%. A multivariate binary logistic regression analysis based on SA and PRA was performed, which identified PA with 90% sensitivity and 91% accuracy. The SA(2)/PRA or the SA(3)/PRA ratio was found useful for simplification of the regression analysis. Antihypertensive medication influenced SA, PRA and the SA/PRA ratio only in EH patients. In EH patients taking beta-adrenoceptor antagonists PRA tended to be lower, leading to a significantly higher SA/PRA ratio and therefore increasing the false-negative rate.

CONCLUSION:

To reduce false-positive results in screening for PA, and thereby avoid unnecessary and cost-intensive diagnostic procedures, SA should be taken into account in addition to the SA/PRA ratio as a second screening criterion. Alternatively, the SA(2)/PRA or the SA(3)/PRA ratio is more accurate screening tests than the SA/PRA ratio. Beta-blockers should be avoided whilst screening for PA.

PMID:
15012618
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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