Salt intake in mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist-treated primary aldosteronism: foe or ally?

Hormones (Athens). 2020 Jun;19(2):223-232. doi: 10.1007/s42000-019-00167-9. Epub 2019 Dec 21.


Mild hyperkalemia is a common side effect of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist (MRA) treatment of patients with primary aldosteronism (PA), which can be worsened by instructions to minimize salt intake. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of salt consumption on serum potassium levels and mean, mean minimal, and mean maximal systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) in MRA-treated hyperkalemic PA patients under relative salt restriction. Seventeen consecutive mildly hyperkalemic MRA-treated PA patients aged 66.3 ± 8.37 years were recruited. Body mass index (BMI) and BP were assessed, and serum and 24-h urinary sodium and potassium levels, plasma renin, and serum aldosterone were measured, while patients followed a relatively salt-restricted diet, after 1 month of controlled salt supplementation (usual salt-restricted diet plus 4 g salt/day) and after 6 months on instructions for free dietary salt consumption. Baseline salt consumption was additionally evaluated in two more patient groups (normotensive subjects and normokalemic MRA-treated PA patients). One month of controlled salt supplementation (24-h urine sodium (median, min, max): 195.2 (120.30-275.20) vs 110.13 (34.30-139.20) mEq/day, p < 0.001) resulted in increased kaliuresis (62.25 (40.69-97.0) vs 54.0 (23.28-79.60) mEq/day, p = 0.001) and a decrease of serum potassium (5.2 (5-5.70) vs 4.6 (3.8-5.1) mEq/L, p < 0.001), while serum sodium (139 (133-141) vs 1 39 (135-144) mEq/L) and mean systolic (130 (105-141 vs. 130 (106-141) mmHg) and diastolic (76 (53-85) vs75 (53-84) mmHg) BP remained stable. These findings were unchanged after 6 months of free salt consumption. BMI remained constant, while plasma renin and serum aldosterone decreased following salt repletion. Adequate salt consumption attenuates MRA-induced hyperkalemia in relatively salt-restricted PA patients without affecting BP or BMI.

Keywords: Hyperkalemia; Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists; Potassium; Primary aldosteronism; Salt; Sodium.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism / blood*
  • Hyperaldosteronism / drug therapy*
  • Hyperkalemia / blood*
  • Hyperkalemia / chemically induced
  • Hyperkalemia / physiopathology*
  • Hyperkalemia / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Potassium / blood*
  • Potassium / urine
  • Sodium / blood*
  • Sodium / urine
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage*


  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Sodium
  • Potassium