Primary aldosteronism (PA) is the most common form of secondary hypertension that causes higher morbidity and mortality than equally severe essential hypertension. Bilateral PA should be treated medically with spironolactone or eplerenone, the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRA), while unilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy is recommended for unilateral disease. Surgery cures hypertension in around 40% of patients with confirmed PA and reliably demonstrated unilateral autonomous aldosterone secretion by adrenal venous sampling (AVS). Regardless of its diagnostic value, AVS has several drawbacks, in particular high cost and invasiveness. Furthermore, only a limited number of referral centers worldwide routinely carry out the procedure. On the other hand, a small number of studies that compared the effects of surgery and MRA on the incidence of cardiovascular and renal outcomes in patients with PA found no difference between the two therapeutic options. In addition, spironolactone has been recently found to be the most effective add-on drug for the treatment of resistant hypertension. Therefore, rational selection of patients with suspected PA for AVS and surgery is of utmost importance.
Part of the book: Clinical Management of Adrenal Tumors