Primary aldosteronism (PA) is characterized by hypertension caused by inappropriately high adrenal aldosterone secretion, consecutively low plasma renin, and an elevated aldosterone to renin ratio. It is nowadays the universally accepted main cause of endocrine hypertension. According to the most recent epidemiological data, PA is present in 5.8% of unselected hypertensives in primary care, 6-12% of hypertensives treated in hypertension centers, and up to 30% in subjects with resistant hypertension 1. Despite this high prevalence, a recent survey demonstrated that screening for PA is not universally followed. Renin and aldosterone measurements, the basis for PA screening, are currently performed by only 7% of general practitioners in Italy and 8% in Germany 2. Accordingly, the prevalence of PA was low with 1% among hypertensives in Italy and 2% in Germany. In a retrospective cohort study of 4660 patients with resistant hypertension in California the screening rate for PA was 2.1% 3. Based on these data, it is clear that we still miss the majority of PA cases, despite advances in diagnosis and therapy.
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