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Primary Aldosteronism by Carlos E. Fardella, Lorena Mosso

Primary aldosteronism is a potentially curable form of hypertension. Recent studies using the plasma aldosterone to plasma renin activity ratio as screening test in hypertensive populations have demonstrated a high prevalence of primary aldosteronism close to 10%. This frequency is clearly higher than the classically described when hypokalemia is used as the screening method. The most common subtypes of primary aldosteronism are idiopathic aldosteronism and aldosterone-producing adenoma. Other causes are glucocorticoid-remediable aldosteronism, unilateral or primary adrenal hyperplasia and adrenal carcinoma. The diagnosis of primary aldosteronism is advocated to confirm the autonomy of aldosterone secretion from the renin- angiotensin system and to differentiate the clinical subtypes of the disease. This article reviews the new data about prevalence, diagnosis criteria and describes the clinical, biochemical and genetic characteristics of the different subtypes of the disease. We also discuss the treatment, and the differential diagnosis with other hyper-mineralocorticoid states.

DOI: Clin. Lab. 2002;48:181-190