The Ovarian Cycle As a Factor of Variability in the Laboratory Screening for Primary Aldosteronism in Women


Primary aldosteronism is increasingly investigated in hypertension being associated with an elevated cardiovascular risk. Aldosterone has been reported to increase in the luteal phase in normal women but to our knowledge the influence of the ovarian cycle on the first screening for primary aldosteronism (that is, on the levels of plasma aldosterone and its relationship to PRA levels) was never investigated. We measured hormonal levels during one cycle in 26 low-renin mild hypertensive outpatients. LH, FSH, 17 β-estradiol, progesterone, aldosterone and PRA were assayed at the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first and twenty-eighth days of the cycle after 30 min of recumbency. Aldosterone and PRA increased from the seventh (follicular phase) to twenty-first day (luteal phase) from 11.2 to 17.8 ng 100 ml−1 and from 0.23 to 0.35 ng ml−1 h−1, respectively (both P=0.004). The proportion of patients with aldosterone >15 ng 100 ml−1 significantly increased from the follicular to the luteal phase, (8/26 vs 19/25, P=0.018); a similar increase was found for Aldosterone-PRA Ratio >30 combined with either a minimum PRA value of 0.5 ng ml−1 h−1 or aldosterone >15 ng 100 ml−1 (7/26 vs 16/25 and 7/26 vs 17/25 respectively, P<0.05). Aldosterone was positively related to PRA and progesterone. Higher aldosterone levels may be frequently encountered in the second part of the ovarian cycle in low-renin hypertensive women. This variability appears to be an important factor to be taken into account in the first-step laboratory screening for primary aldosteronism and should be considered in the process of standardization of the diagnostic work-up for this disease.

Authors: E Fommei, S Ghione, A Ripoli, S Maffei, P Di Cecco, A Iervasi, S Turchi
Keywords: ovarian cycle, luteal phase
DOI Number: 10.1038/jhh.2008.109      Publication Year: 2008

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