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Q J Med. 1976 Jul;45(179):401-10.

Renal abnormalities and vascular complications in primary hyperaldosteronism. Evidence on tertiary hyperaldosteronism.


The frequency of underlying renal or renal artery disease, and the incidence of vascular complications were reviewed in a series of 136 cases of primary hyperaldosteronism. This was in order to investigate the possible existence of 'tertiary' hyperaldosteronism, and to examine the commonly held view that primary hyperaldosteronism is a relatively benign form of hypertension. Ten cases (7-4 per cent) had evidence of renal artery stenosis and eleven (8-1 per cent) parenchymatous renal disease. In comparison with the reported frequency in large general series of hypertensives, these data show no evidence of an excess of underlying renal disease. It is unlikely, therefore, that autonomous aldosterone secreting adenomata occur commonly as a consequence of prolonged secondary hyperaldosteronism. Four cases (2-9 per cent) had evidence of the malignant-phase of hypertension, and over a mean observation time of 5-9 years, 31 cases (22-8 per cent) developed 39 vascular complications. It appears, therefore, that vascular complications are not rare in primary hyperaldosteronism, and early and effective treatment is thus necessary.

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