Primary aldosteronism in pregnancy

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2023 Feb;24(1):39-48. doi: 10.1007/s11154-022-09729-6. Epub 2022 May 10.


Primary aldosteronism (PA) is the most common form of secondary hypertension. Although hypertensive disorders seem to affect around 5-10% of pregnancies worldwide, literature counts less than 80 cases of PA diagnosed during the peri-partum period. In this review we discuss about current knowledge on pathophysiology, natural history, diagnosis and treatment of PA in pregnancy. Because of the physiologic changes in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and the contraindication to both confirmatory test and subtype differentiation, diagnosis of PA during pregnancy is challenging and relies mostly on detection of low/suppressed renin and high aldosterone levels. The course of pregnancy in patients with PA is highly variable, ranging from progesterone-induced amelioration of blood pressure (BP) control to severe and resistant hypertension with potential maternal and fetal complications. Mineralcorticoid receptor antagonists (MRA) are the recommended and most effective drugs for treatment of PA. As the anti-androgenic effect of spironolactone can potentially interfere with sexual development, their prescription is not recommended during pregnancy. On the other side, eplerenone, has proven to be safe and effective in 6 pregnant women and may be added to conventional first line drug regimen in presence of resistant hypertension or persistent hypokalemia. Ideally, patients with unilateral forms of PA should undergo adrenalectomy prior to conception, however, when PA is diagnosed during pregnancy and medical therapy fails to adequately control hypertension or its complications, adrenalectomy can be considered during the second trimester in case of unilateral adrenal mass at MRI-scan.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Management; Pregnancy; Primary aldosteronism.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Eplerenone / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism* / diagnosis
  • Hyperaldosteronism* / therapy
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Spironolactone / therapeutic use


  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Spironolactone
  • Eplerenone