Dietary Salt Intake Is a Determinant of Cardiac Changes After Treatment of Primary Aldosteronism: A Prospective Study

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Primary aldosteronism is associated with increased left ventricular (LV) mass independently of blood pressure. Previous studies suggest that elevated aldosterone causes cardiac damage only in the presence of an inappropriate salt status. We examined the relevance of dietary salt intake on cardiac changes in patients with primary aldosteronism before and after treatment. Sixty-five patients with tumoral or idiopathic primary aldosteronism were recruited at a University medical center and followed after either surgical (n=30) or medical (n=35) treatment. At baseline and 1 year after treatment, cardiac morphology and functional variables were measured by echocardiography together with duplicate 24-hour urinary sodium collections. At baseline, LV mass index was associated with urinary sodium excretion and plasma aldosterone levels. During follow-up, blood pressure (from 167/102–135/83 mm Hg; P<0.001) and LV mass index (from 50.5±13.0–44.4±8.9 g/m2.7; P<0.001) decreased significantly with nonsignificant changes in LV geometry and functional properties. At the end of follow-up, percentage decrease in LV mass index was significantly greater in patients who had >10% reduction in urinary sodium excretion (15.0±12.5%) than in the remaining patients (5.5±9.3%; P<0.001). Changes in LV mass index induced by both surgical and medical treatment were directly and independently correlated with changes in blood pressure (β=0.419; P=0.009) and urinary sodium excretion (β=0.334; P=0.012) observed at follow-up. These findings strongly support the hypothesis that dietary salt intake has a crucial role in aldosterone-related LV changes and could contribute to cardiac damage in patients with primary aldosteronism.

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