Majority of patients with hypertension have primary hypertension (without an underlying cause). Secondary hypertension (due to an underlying disease) is important to recognize, as treatment can lead to cure of hypertension. Primary aldosteronism (PA) is the most common cause of secondary hypertension, and can be found in 5-10% of patients locally.
PA is caused by excessive release of a hormone (aldosterone) from the adrenal glands, which can be unilateral (one gland) or bilateral (both glands). Distinction between two is crucial as unilateral disease is treated with the aim of cure by surgery, and bilateral disease is treated by medication.
It has been shown that excess aldosterone has other harmful effects in addition to hypertension, such as directly affecting the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, diabetes and quality of life. This is supported by studies showing reversal of these effects after treatment for PA. In addition, improvements after surgery appears to be superior to medical treatment, although studies have found variable results.
Hence, the investigators aim to accurately subtype patients with PA into unilateral or bilateral disease and study the post-treatment response after both surgery and medicine with regards to the effects on blood pressure, cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and quality of life.