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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2004 Mar 31;217(1-2):33-9.

Primary aldosteronism--careful investigation is essential and rewarding.

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Hypertension Unit, University of Queensland, Department of Medicine, Princvess Alexandra Hospital, Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba, Brisbane 4102, Australia.


Once considered rare, primary aldosteronism (PAL) is now regarded as the commonest potentially curable and specifically treatable form of hypertension. At Greenslopes Hospital Hypertension Unit (GHHU), the decision in 1991 to screen all (and not just hypokalemic or resistant) hypertensives by aldosterone/renin ratio (ARR) testing led to a 10-fold increase in detection rate of PAL and four-fold increase in removal rate of aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs). The GHHU/Princess Alexandra Hospital Hypertension Unit PAL series stands at 977 patients and 250 APAs removed with hypertension cured in 50-60% (remainder improved). Reliable detection requires that interfering medications are withdrawn (or their effects considered) before ARR measurement, and reliable methods (such as fludrocortisone suppression testing) to confirm PAL. Adrenal venous sampling is the only dependable way to differentiate APA from bilateral adrenal hyperplasia. Genetic testing has facilitated detection of glucocorticoid-remediable, familial PAL. Identification of mutations causing the more common familial variety described by GHHU in 1991 should further aid in detection of PAL.

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