Advances in the Treatment of Aldosteronism

January 15, 2024by Dr. Shehrezad Czar0

Aldosteronism, a medical condition characterized by excessive production of the hormone aldosterone, has seen significant advancements in its treatment over recent years. This article provides a comprehensive review of these developments, highlighting the improved understanding, diagnosis, and management of aldosteronism, focusing primarily on primary aldosteronism (PA).

Understanding Aldosteronism

Aldosteronism, particularly PA, is a leading cause of secondary hypertension. Aldosterone, produced by the adrenal glands, regulates salt and water balance, impacting blood pressure. PA can be either unilateral, often due to an adrenal adenoma (Conn’s syndrome), or bilateral, due to adrenal hyperplasia.

Diagnostic Advancements

The diagnostic approach to aldosteronism has evolved considerably. The recognition of PA as a more common cause of hypertension has led to increased screening. The aldosterone-to-renin ratio (ARR) remains the initial screening test. Recent guidelines recommend broader ARR screening among hypertensive patients, especially those with resistant hypertension, hypokalemia, or adrenal incidentaloma.

Advancements in cross-sectional imaging, like CT and MRI, have improved the identification of adrenal lesions. However, imaging alone cannot reliably distinguish between unilateral and bilateral disease. Adrenal vein sampling (AVS), although invasive, remains the gold standard for this purpose. Recent improvements in AVS techniques and interpretation have enhanced its accuracy and safety.

Pharmacological Advances

Treatment for aldosteronism depends on its cause. For unilateral PA, surgical removal of the affected adrenal gland (adrenalectomy) is the preferred treatment. This approach often normalizes blood pressure and aldosterone levels, reducing or eliminating the need for antihypertensive medications.

For bilateral disease or patients unsuitable for surgery, medical management is the mainstay. Spironolactone, a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist (MRA), has long been the first-line medication. However, its side effects, like gynecomastia and hyperkalemia, can limit its use.

Eplerenone, a more selective MRA, offers similar efficacy with fewer side effects but may be less potent and more expensive. Recent years have seen the emergence of newer agents like finerenone, which promises greater selectivity and potentially fewer side effects.

Genetics and Personalized Medicine

Genetic research has shed light on the pathophysiology of PA. Mutations in genes like KCNJ5, CACNA1D, and ATP1A1 are implicated in a subset of PA cases. This understanding has opened the door to more personalized approaches to treatment. Genetic testing, although not yet routine, may soon help tailor treatments to individual patients based on their genetic makeup.

Lifestyle and Supportive Measures

Lifestyle modifications play a crucial role in managing aldosteronism. Patients are advised to adopt a low-sodium diet, as excess salt can exacerbate aldosterone’s effects on blood pressure. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are also beneficial. Additionally, psychological support and patient education about the condition are crucial for long-term management and adherence to treatment.

Challenges and Future Directions

Despite these advancements, challenges remain. PA is still underdiagnosed, and access to AVS is limited in many regions. Ongoing research is focused on developing non-invasive diagnostic tools and more effective and specific medical therapies.

Future research may also explore the role of aldosterone in other health conditions, like heart failure and kidney disease, potentially broadening the implications of these advances in aldosteronism treatment.


The treatment of aldosteronism has advanced significantly, improving the lives of many patients. With enhanced diagnostic tools, better medical therapies, and a deeper understanding of the disease’s genetics, patients with aldosteronism can look forward to more personalized and effective treatment options. The ongoing research and development in this field promise to further improve the diagnosis and management of aldosteronism, contributing to better overall patient outcomes.

Also Read: Primary vs. Secondary Aldosteronism: Understanding the Differences

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