For the last seven decades, primary aldosteronism (PA) has been gradually recognized as a leading cause of secondary hypertension harboring increased risks of cardiovascular incidents compared to essential hypertension. Clinically, PA consists of two major subtypes, surgically curable and uncurable phenotypes, determined as unilateral or bilateral PA by adrenal venous sampling. In order to further optimize the treatment, surgery or medications, diagnostic procedures from screening to subtype differentiation is indispensable, while in the general clinical practice, the work-up rate is extremely low even in the patients with refractory hypertension because of the time-consuming and labor-intensive nature of the procedures. Therefore, a novel tool to simplify the diagnostic flow has been recently in enormous demand. In this review, we focus on recent progress in the following clinically important topics of PA: prevalence of PA and its subtypes, newly revealed histopathological classification of aldosterone-producing lesions, novel diagnostic biomarkers and prediction scores. More effective strategy to diagnose PA based on better understanding of its epidemiology and pathology should lead to early detection of PA and could decrease the cardiovascular and renal complications of the patients.
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