Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity in hypertension. Current evidence suggests a contribution to LVH of plasma aldosterone levels that are inappropriately elevated for the salt status. The aim of this study was to investigate whether inappropriate modulation of aldosterone production by a saline load is associated with left ventricular (LV) mass in hypertensive patients.METHODS
In 90 hypertensive patients free of clinically relevant cardiovascular complications in whom secondary forms of hypertension were ruled out, we performed a standard intravenous saline load (0.9% NaCl, 2 l in 4 hours) with measurement of plasma aldosterone and active renin at baseline and end of infusion. Bi-dimensional echocardiography was performed for the assessment of cardiac morphology and function.RESULTS
LVH was present in 19% of patients who had significantly worse renal function and higher body mass, blood pressure, and plasma aldosterone levels measured both at baseline and after the saline load than patients without LVH. LV mass was directly related to age, body mass, systolic blood pressure, duration of hypertension, baseline, and post-saline load plasma aldosterone levels and inversely to glomerular filtration. Multivariate regression analysis showed independent correlation of LV mass with body mass, systolic blood pressure, and plasma aldosterone levels measured after intravenous saline load, but not at baseline.CONCLUSIONS
In patients with hypertension, aldosterone levels measured after intravenous saline load are related to LV mass independent of age, body mass, and blood pressure, suggesting that limited ability of salt to modulate aldosterone production could contribute to LVH.