The prevalence of secondary hypertension is lower than that of primary (essential) hypertension, but it is likely that it has been underestimated because appropriate tests were not generally performed. Hence, before embarking on a search for secondary hypertension physicians are generally advised to select populations of patients with a high pre-test probability of secondary forms of hypertension in order to maximize the positive predictive value and the gain in “ruling in” of the diagnostic tests. Based on updated information on prevalence and pathophysiology we herein critically review the general diagnostic strategy and the management of the main forms of secondary hypertension. In particular, strategies for identifying primary aldosteronism, the most frequent form of endocrine secondary hypertension, and for determining its unilateral or bilateral causes are discussed in details, because of the differences of treatment that requires adrenalectomy in the unilateral forms and mineralocorticoid receptor blockade in the bilateral forms. The tests available for the diagnosing pheochromocytoma, which is much rarer but extremely important to identify, as it can be fatal if unrecognized are also discussed, with emphasis on the recent developments in genetic testing. Renovascular hypertension is also a common curable form of hypertension, which should be identified as early as possible to avoid the onset of cardiovascular target organ damage and events, is also discussed.
Keywords: Hypertension, renin, aldosterone, angiotensin, renovascular, catecholamines, mineralocorticoid receptor, pheochromocytoma, Arterial hypertension, adenoma, hypokalemia, bilateral adrenal hyperplasia, idiopathic hyperaldosteronism, glucocorticoid-remediable aldosteronism, glucocorticoid non-remediable, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, angiotensin II, captopril, antihypertensive therapy, plasma aldosterone concentration, beta-blockers, (ACE) inhibitors, RAS, fludrocortisone, Magnetic resonance, incidentaloma, hyperplasia, mineralocorticoid adrenocortical scintigraphy, Adrenal Vein Sampling, lateralization index, PHEOCHROMOCYTOMA PARAGANGLIOMA, fentanile, succinylcholine chloride, amitriptyline, clomipramine, fluoxetine, imipramine, paroxetine, antiemetics, metoclopramide, antipsychotics, sulpiride, phenothiazines, opioids, naloxone, sympath-omimetics, amphetamines, cocaine, ephedrine, isoproterenol, blockers, propanolol, anti-menopausal, (veralipride), neuropeptide Y, Chromogranin A, von Hippel Lindau, vanillylmandelic acid, Serum Chromogranin-A, Captopril Challenge
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