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Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jan 14;168(1):80-5. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2007.33.

Cardiovascular outcomes in patients with primary aldosteronism after treatment.

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Hypertension and Cardiovascular Unit, Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Experimental and Clinical Pathology and Medicine, University of Udine, Udine, Italy.



Experimental and human studies demonstrate that long-term exposure to elevated aldosterone levels results in cardiac and vascular damage.


We investigated long-term cardiovascular outcomes in patients with primary aldosteronism after surgical or medical treatment. Fifty-four patients with or without evidence of adrenal adenomas were prospectively followed up for a mean of 7.4 years after treatment with adrenalectomy or spironolactone. Patients with primary aldosteronism were compared with patients with essential hypertension and were treated to reach a blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg. The main outcome measure was a combined cardiovascular end point comprising myocardial infarction, stroke, any type of revascularization procedure, and sustained arrhythmias.


At baseline, the prevalence of cardiovascular events was greater in primary aldosteronism (35%) than in essential hypertension (11%) (odds ratio, 4.61; 95% confidence interval, 2.38-8.95; P< .001), with odds ratios of 4.93, 4.36, and 2.80 for sustained arrhythmias, cerebrovascular events, and coronary heart disease, respectively. Blood pressure during follow-up was comparable in the primary aldosteronism and essential hypertension groups. Ten patients in the primary aldosteronism group and 19 in the essential hypertension group reached the primary end point (P= .85). Cox analysis indicated that older age and longer duration of hypertension were factors independently associated with the cardiovascular end point. Cardiovascular outcome was comparable in patients with aldosteronism treated with adrenalectomy vs aldosterone antagonists (P= .71).


Primary aldosteronism is associated with a cardiovascular complication rate out of proportion to blood pressure levels that benefits substantially from surgical and medical treatment in the long term.

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