Primary aldosteronism is the most frequent endocrine cause of secondary hypertension. Aldosterone excess damages the cardiovascular system.
We compared biochemical; morphological, and cardiovascular risk differences among hypokalemic and normokalemic primary aldosteronism. We evaluated either both presentations correspond to two different entities or a unique disease in different evolutive stage.
Material and methods:
This is a retrospective study including 157 patients with primary aldosteronism divided into two groups: typical presentation (serum potassium < 3.5 mmol/l, n = 87) and atypical presentation (serum potassium > 3.5 mmol/l, n = 70).
The typical presentation group showed higher family background of ischemic heart disease (P = 0.028), plasmatic aldosterone levels (P = 0.001), and cardiovascular added risk (P = 0.013). Although kalemia was corrected in the hypokalemic group after specific treatment, typical presentation maintained lower levels. Predictors of typical presentation were the highest tertile of aldosterone level, baseline DBP, and a longer evolution of hypertension. Aldosterone serum levels increased along time in primary aldosteronism and it can be considered as the most discriminative factor for the type of presentation.
Primary aldosteronism presentation along with normokalemia or hypokalemia could be the same disease at different evolution stages. Adequate detection of normokalemic primary aldosteronism deserves an early and intentional diagnostic attitude.