Primary aldosteronism


Primary aldosteronism (PA) is the most common form of secondary hypertension. In many cases, somatic mutations in ion channels and pumps within adrenal cells initiate the pathogenesis of PA, and this mechanism might explain why PA is so common and suggests that milder and evolving forms of PA must exist. Compared with primary hypertension, PA causes more end-organ damage and is associated with excess cardiovascular morbidity, including heart failure, stroke, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and atrial fibrillation. Screening is simple and readily available, and targeted therapy improves blood pressure control and mitigates cardiovascular morbidity. Despite these imperatives, screening rates for PA are low, and mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonists are underused for hypertension treatment. After the evidence for the prevalence of PA and its associated cardiovascular morbidity is summarized, a practical approach to PA screening, referral, and management is described. All physicians who treat hypertension should routinely screen appropriate patients for PA.

Circulation, 138(8)