Primary aldosteronism (PA) is the most common endocrine form of hypertension and may carry an increased risk of atrial flutter or fibrillation (AFF). The primary goal of this multicentre cohort study is thus to prospectively establish the prevalence of PA in consecutive hypertensive patients referred for lone (non-valvular), paroxysmal or permanent AFF. Secondary objectives are to determine: (1) the predictors of AFF in patients with PA; (2) the rate of AFF recurrence at follow-up after specific treatment in the patients with PA; (3) the effect of AFF that can increase atrial natriuretic peptide via the atrial stretch and thereby blunt aldosterone secretion, on the aldosterone-to-renin ratio (ARR), and thus the case detection of PA; (4) the diagnostic accuracy of ARR based on plasma renin activity or on the measurement of active renin (DRA) for diagnosing PA in AFF patients. Case detection and subtyping of PA will be performed according to established criteria, including the 'four corners criteria' for diagnosing aldosterone-producing adenoma. Pharmacologic or direct current cardioversion will be undertaken whenever indicated following current guidelines. The hormonal values and ARR will be compared within patient between AFF and sinus rhythm. Organ damage, cardiovascular events and recurrence of AFF will also be assessed during follow-up in patients with PA.Journal of Human Hypertension advance online publication, 21 June 2012; doi:10.1038/jhh.2012.21.
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