Conn's Syndrome (Primary hyperaldosteronism)

Overview

Conn’s Syndrome, also known as primary hyperaldosteronism, is the overproduction of aldosterone by a tumor in the adrenal gland. Many of these patients have had longstanding high blood pressure which has been difficult to control along with low potassium levels on their routine blood test. In fact, primary hyperaldosteronism (PA) is the most common cause of secondary hypertension, affecting 5-13% of patients with hypertension. Their symptoms are often vague and may include headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, thirst and frequent urination. 

Symptoms

Hypertension is a symptom of Conn's syndrome, although it also a major health concern affecting roughly 70 million Americans. The vast majority of patients have primary or “essential” hypertension and treatment is aimed at lifestyle changes and appropriate use of antihypertensive medications. However, 5-13% of patients have secondary hypertension, which is most commonly caused by primary hyperaldosteronism. Other symptoms of primary hyperaldosteronism can be determined through biochemical screening by a provider and include suppressed renin activity (PRA) and increased serum aldosterone concentration.

Treatments

Laparoscopic adrenalectomy or, in appropriately selected patients, endoscopic posterior adrenalectomy, is associated with low morbidity and mortality and results in improved hypertension in about 90% of patients. Thirty to 60% of cases will result in cure without need for additional antihypertensives. Success is dependent on timely treatment at a younger age and early in the onset of hypertension.