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J Formos Med Assoc. 1995 May;94(5):248-54.

Diagnostic value of plasma aldosterone/potassium ratio in hypoaldosteronism.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Taipei Municipal Jen-Ai Hospital, Taiwan, ROC.


The diagnosis of hypoaldosteronism usually depends upon a combination of abnormal clinical and laboratory findings. The most common abnormality in hypoaldosteronism is hyperkalemia, which may be combined with sodium depletion. In the present study, 5 of 16 patients diagnosed with isolated hypoaldosteronism (IHA) had sodium depletion due to renal salt wasting, and four patients had normokalemia. Of these 16 IHA patients, 70% had subnormal baseline and stimulated plasma renin activity (PRA). Six patients diagnosed with type I pseudohypoaldosteronism (PHA) had normal or high PRA and plasma aldosterone concentrations (PAC). In 11 control subjects, supine PAC correlated positively with serum potassium (SK), and PAC stimulated by furosemide and ambulation correlated with the 24-hour urinary potassium excretion (UK). However, these correlations were not found in IHA and PHA patients. The ratio of UK/UNa+K and UNa/UK correlated with the stimulated PAC when the IHA and control subjects were taken as a whole. However, these electrolyte excretion parameters bore no relationship to the supine PAC. The stimulated PAC/SK ratio was used to discriminate the three groups; all IHA patients had a ratio below 3. The results indicate that stimulated PAC reflects the bioactivity of aldosterone on the collecting tubule, and the stimulated PAC/SK ratio is useful for the diagnosis of hypoaldosteronism and pseudohypoaldosteronism.

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