Background: Primary hyperaldosteronism (Conn's syndrome) is being diagnosed increasingly often. As many as 12% of patients with hypertension have the characteristic laboratory constellation of Conn's syndrome. Its diagnosis and treatment have not been standardized.
Methods: The authors retrospectively analyzed data of 555 patients (327 men and 228 women, aged 55 +/- 13 years) who were treated for primary hyperaldosteronism in 5 different centers from 1990 to 2006. The objective was to determine center-specific features of diagnosis and treatment.
Results: 353 (63%) of the patients had the hypokalemic variant of primary hyperaldosteronism; 202 never had documented hypokalemia. The centers differed markedly with respect to the patients' clinical presentation, diagnostic testing of endocrine function, and diagnostic imaging techniques, including adrenal venous sampling. The adrenalectomy rate ranged from 15% to 46%.
Conclusions: The registry data reveal an unexpected heterogeneity in the diagnostic evaluation and treatment of primary hyperaldosteronism. National or international guidelines are needed so that these can be standardized.
Keywords: Conn’s syndrome; aldosterone; hyperaldosteronism; hypertension; hypokalemia.