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Revista argentina de endocrinología y metabolismo

versión On-line ISSN 1851-3034


PARDES, E et al. Determination of the Aldosterone/Plasma Renin Activity Ratio for the Screening of Primary Hyperaldosteronism in Essential Hypertension: a Multicentric Study. Rev. argent. endocrinol. metab. [online]. 2010, vol.47, n.2, pp.27-39. ISSN 1851-3034.

Primary hyperaldosteronism (PHA) or Conn's disease was classically suspected in the presence of hypertension (H) and hypokalemia. It was previously considered as a rare cause of H, being reported in only 1% of hypertensive patients. It can be caused by an adrenal adenoma (the former usual presentation) or by adrenal hyperplasia. But since the use of the aldosterone/plasma renin activity ratio (AAR) as the screening method in the last years, it is currently considered as almost the most frequent cause of secondary H., accounting for 5-10% of essential H. Plasma rennin activity (PRA) determination is a laborious procedure with low reproducibility and it directly affects the AAR; thus each laboratory must assess its own cut-off value. Therefore, in the Adrenal Department of the Argentine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (SAEM), we performed this multicentric prospective study of a population of Argentina with the aim of assessing our own AAR cut-off level in normotensive controls in order to apply it for PHA screening in essential hypertensive patients. We studied 353 adult subjects: 104 controls, aged 45,18 ± 13,78 years-old ( X±SD), with no history of arterial hypertension in their first-degree relatives and with two separate day-registry of blood pressure≤ 139/85 mmHg and 249 hypertensive patients, aged 51± 13,6 years-old ( X ± SD), with arterial blood pressure≥ 140/90 mmHg in the sitting position. Subjects with cardiac, renal, hepatic and neurological diseases were excluded as well as those with Cushing´s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, untreated hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus and patients under glucocorticoids, oral contraceptive pills or estrogen therapy. A normal sodium diet was indicated and potassium was supplemented when needed. Blood was withdrawn between 8 and 10:00 a.m. with the subjects in the upright position. Aldosterone (A) was determined by DPC radioimmunoassay (RIA) and PRA, by DIA-Sorin RIA. The A normal levels are 4-30 ng/dl for ambulatory individuals on a normal sodium diet and the PRA normal values are < 3,3 ng/ml/h. In order to avoid false positive results in the hypertensive group, AAR was calculated when A was above 15 ng/dl. We measured the waist circumference and we determined the body mass index. Blood sodium, potassium, calcium, urea, creatinine, cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C, triglyceride and liver function tests were performed. Statistical Analysis and Results Since the AAR variable showed a non-normal distribution, the cut-off value was considered as the 95th percentile in the control group, which was calculated as 36. This is also in accordance to the function of the empirical distribution of Collings and Hamilton. In our 249 hypertensive patients, 31 had an AAR ≥ 36. PHA was confirmed in 8: seven has an adrenal adenoma and one had hyperplasia. The prevalence of PHA in our population was 3,2 %, with a 95th confidence interval ranging from 1,4 to 6,2 %. In the remaining 23 patients, confirmatory tests could not be completed. There was no correlation between the severity of the hypertension and the AAR value, with no statistical significant differences between those with or without PHA. Likewise, we found no correlation between PRA and advancing age. In hypertensive patients, metabolic syndrome was more prevalent than in controls, but it was present to the same extent in those with or without PHA. Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first multicentric study performed in Argentina to determine the aldosterone/ plasma renin activity ratio in our normotensive control population. Our AAR value of 36 agrees with the levels reported in the international literature: thus an AAR ≥ 36 along with an aldosterone ≥ 15 ng/ml in hypertensive patients lead us to suspect PHA and to perform confirmatory tests. Applying these criteria, we found a prevalence of 3,2% of PHA in essential HTA. It is possible that this value may be underestimated due to the fact that confirmatory tests could not be completed in all the hypertensive subjects with an AAR≥ 36. In spite of this, our prevalence is significantly greater than the historical one and it lies in the range reported in the literature.

Palabras clave : Aldosterone/Plasma Renin Activity Ratio; Primary Hyperaldosteronism; Arterial Hypertension; Screening; Multicentric Study.

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