Quality of Life in Primary Aldosteronism: A Comparative Effectiveness Study of Adrenalectomy and Medical Treatment

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Jan 1;103(1):16-24. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-01442.


Context: In primary aldosteronism (PA), two subtypes are distinguished: aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA) and bilateral adrenal hyperplasia (BAH). In general, these are treated by adrenalectomy (ADX) and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRA), respectively.

Objective: To compare the effects of surgical treatment and medical treatment on quality of life (QoL).

Design: Post hoc comparative effectiveness study within the Subtyping Primary Aldosteronism: A Randomized Trial Comparing Adrenal Vein Sampling and Computed Tomography Scan (SPARTACUS) trial.

Setting: Twelve Dutch hospitals and one Polish hospital.

Participants: Patients with PA (n = 184).

Interventions: ADX or MRAs.

Main outcome measures: At baseline and 6-month and 1-year follow-up, we assessed QoL by two validated questionnaires: RAND 36-Item Health Survey 1.0 (RAND SF-36) and European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D).

Results: At baseline, seven of eight RAND SF-36 subscales and both summary scores, as well as three of five EQ-5D dimensions and the visual analog scale, were lower in patients with PA compared with the general population, especially in women. The beneficial effects of ADX were larger than for MRAs for seven RAND SF-36 subscales, both summary scores, and health change. For the EQ-5D, we detected a difference in favor of ADX in two dimensions and the visual analog scale. Most differences in QoL between both treatments exceeded the minimally clinically important difference. After 1 year, almost all QoL measures had normalized for adrenalectomized patients. For patients on medical treatment, most QoL measures had improved but not all to the level of the general population.

Conclusion: Both treatments improve QoL in PA, underscoring the importance of identifying these patients. QoL improved more after ADX for suspected APA than after initiation of medical treatment for suspected BAH.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01096654.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01096654