Volume overload is a major characteristic in primary aldosteronism: a 3-year follow-up study

J Hypertens. 2024 Jun 1;42(6):1057-1065. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000003696. Epub 2024 Feb 21.


Objectives: We examined haemodynamics, focusing on volume balance and forward and backward wave amplitudes, before and after 2.8 years of targeted treatment of primary aldosteronism. Patients with essential hypertension and normotensive individuals were examined for comparison ( n = 40 in each group).

Methods: Recordings were performed using radial artery pulse wave analysis and whole-body impedance cardiography. Unilateral aldosteronism was treated with adrenalectomy ( n = 20), bilateral aldosteronism with spironolactone-based medication ( n = 20), and essential hypertension with standard antihypertensive agents.

Results: Aortic SBP and DBP, forward and backward wave amplitudes, and systemic vascular resistance were equally elevated in primary aldosteronism and essential hypertension. All these haemodynamic variables were similarly reduced by the treatments. Primary aldosteronism presented with 1 litre (∼10%) extracellular water excess ( P < 0.001) versus the other groups, and this excess was normalized by treatment. Initial pulse wave velocity (PWV) was similarly increased in primary aldosteronism and essential hypertension, but final values remained higher in primary aldosteronism ( P < 0.001). In regression analyses, significant explanatory factors for treatment-induced forward wave amplitude reduction were decreased systemic vascular resistance ( β = 0.380) and reduced extracellular water volume ( β = 0.183). Explanatory factors for backward wave amplitude reduction were changes in forward wave amplitude ( β = 0.599), heart rate ( β = -0.427), and PWV ( β = 0.252).

Conclusion: Compared with essential hypertension, the principal haemodynamic difference in primary aldosteronism was higher volume load. Volume excess elevated forward wave amplitude, which was subsequently reduced by targeted treatment of primary aldosteronism, along with normalization of volume load. We propose that incorporating extracellular water evaluation alongside routine diagnostics could enhance the identification and diagnosis of primary aldosteronism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy
  • Adult
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism* / complications
  • Hyperaldosteronism* / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulse Wave Analysis*
  • Spironolactone / therapeutic use


  • Spironolactone
  • Antihypertensive Agents