Primary aldosteronism. Results of surgical treatment

Ann Surg. 1996 Aug;224(2):125-30. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199608000-00003.


Summary background data: Management of primary hyperaldosteronism has undergone dramatic changes in the past 40 years. This retrospective study was carried out to review our recent surgical experience and to identify potential factors associated with postoperative persistent hypertension.

Methods: Forty-six patients who had adrenal surgery for primary hyperaldosteronism from 1983 to 1994 were included in the study.

Results: Periodic paralysis occurred in 12 (26%) patients. Hypertension and hypokalemia (mean serum potassium, 2.2 + 0.5 [+ standard deviation (SD) mmol/L) were present in all patients. Postural study was diagnostic in 85% (23 of 27). Computed tomography scan correctly localized the tumor in all except 1 patient, and venous sampling was performed in 11 patients. There was no operative mortality, and complications developed in six patients (13%), including one patient requiring re-exploration for hemostasis. All patients had a histologically documented adenoma. During a mean follow-up of 51 months, 34 (77%) of the 44 patients required no further antihypertensive treatment. Two patients were lost to follow-up. Age, response to spironolactone treatment, and blood pressure on discharge were risk factors identified for persistent hypertension.

Conclusion: Primary hyperaldosteronism due to aldosterone-producing adenoma can be diagnosed and localized expeditiously, whereas surgical treatment can be performed safely. Hypokalemia may be cured by surgical treatment, although persistent hypertension, usually of a mild degree, still occurs in selected patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism / diagnosis
  • Hyperaldosteronism / surgery*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Preoperative Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors