To elucidate the factors which contribute to the exaggerated natriuresis in primary aldosteronism, hemodynamic and hormonal changes induced by saline infusion (at a rate of 0.5 1/h for 3h) were examined in 6 patients with primary aldosteronism, 13 with essential hypertension, and 8 normotensive subjects. After saline infusion, increases in urinary sodium excretion, glomerular filtration rate, atrial natriuretic hormone, and urinary dopamine excretion along with suppression of plasma renin activity and aldosterone were compared in the three groups. All three groups demonstrated similar increases in glomerular filtration rate, but patients with primary aldosteronism did not show changes in urinary dopamine excretion, plasma renin activity, and aldosterone, despite their increased excretion of sodium. The increase in plasma atrial natriuretic hormone was significantly greater in primary aldosteronism than in essential hypertension or normotensive subjects. No changes in blood pressure or heart rate were seen. These findings suggest that atrial natriuretic hormone might play a role in the exaggerated excretion of sodium in patients with primary aldosteronism.
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