Primary aldosteronism (PA) is a common form of endocrine hypertension previously believed to account for less than 1% of hypertensive patients. Hypokalemia was considered a prerequisite for pursuing diagnostic tests for PA. Recent studies applying the plasma aldosterone/plasma renin activity ratio (ARR) as a screening test have reported a higher prevalence. This study is a retrospective evaluation of the diagnosis of PA from clinical centers in five continents before and after the widespread use of the ARR as a screening test. The application of this strategy to a greater number of hypertensives led to a 5- to 15-fold increase in the identification of patients affected by PA. Only a small proportion of patients (between 9 and 37%) were hypokalemic. The annual detection rate of aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA) increased in all centers (by 1.3-6.3 times) after the wide application of ARR. Aldosterone-producing adenomas constituted a much higher proportion of patients with PA in the four centers that employed adrenal venous sampling (28-50%) than in the center that did not (9%). In conclusion, the wide use of the ARR as a screening test in hypertensive patients led to a marked increase in the detection rate of PA.