Practice Recommendations for Diagnosis and Treatment of the Most Common Forms of Secondary Hypertension

High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev. 2020 Dec;27(6):547-560. doi: 10.1007/s40292-020-00415-9. Epub 2020 Nov 7.


The vast majority of hypertensive patients are never sought for a cause of their high blood pressure, i.e. for a 'secondary' form of arterial hypertension. This under detection explains why only a tiny percentage of hypertensive patients are ultimately diagnosed with a secondary form of arterial hypertension. The prevalence of these forms is, therefore, markedly underestimated, although, they can involve as many as one-third of the cases among referred patients and up to half of those with difficult to treat hypertension. The early detection of a secondary form is crucial, because if diagnosed in a timely manner, these forms can be cured at long-term, and even when cure cannot be achieved, their diagnosis provides a better control of high blood pressure, and allows prevention of hypertension-mediated organ damage, and related cardiovascular complications. Enormous progress has been made in the understanding, diagnostic work-up, and management of secondary hypertension in the last decades. The aim of this minireview is, therefore, to provide updated concise information on the screening, diagnosis, and management of the most common forms, including primary aldosteronism, renovascular hypertension, pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma, Cushing's syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Keywords: Cushing’s syndrome; Obstructive sleep apnea; Pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma; Primary aldosteronism; Renovascular hypertension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome