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Can J Cardiol. 2012 May;28(3):318-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Apr 21.

Resistant hypertension and aldosterone: an update.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


Resistant hypertension (RHTN) is defined as a blood pressure remaining above goal despite the concurrent use of 3 antihypertensive medications of different classes, including, ideally a diuretic. RHTN is an important health problem with a prevalence rate expected to increase as populations become older, more obese, and at higher risk of having diabetes and chronic kidney disease, all of which are important risk factors for development of RHTN. The role of aldosterone has gained increasing recognition as a significant contributor to antihypertensive treatment resistance. In prospective studies, the prevalence of primary aldosteronism (PA) has ranged from 14%-21% in patients with RHTN, which is considerably higher than in the general hypertensive population. Furthermore, marked antihypertensive effects are seen when mineralocorticoid antagonists are added to the treatment regimen of patients with RHTN, further supporting aldosterone excess as an important cause of RHTN. A close association exists between hyperaldosteronism, RHTN, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) based upon recent studies which indicate that OSA is worsened by aldosterone-mediated fluid retention. This interaction is supported by preliminary data which demonstrates improvement in OSA severity after treatment with spironolactone.

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