<b>Background:</b> In our laboratory well-defined reference values for the screening test and confirmation test used in the diagnosis of primary aldosteronism were lacking. In this study we established the reference values of the plasma aldosterone concentration (PA), plasma renin activity (PRA) and PA/PRA ratio after a two-hour upright period, and of the urinary aldosterone excretion after oral sodium loading.
<b>Methods:</b> Fifty healthy volunteers, equally distributed according to sex and aged between 20 and 70 years, went through the screening and confirmation test of primary aldosteronism. PA, PRA and the PA/PRA ratios were measured after a two-hour upright period (screening test). Urinary aldosterone excretion was determined in two 24-hour urine samples after an oral suppletion of 6 g NaCl a day for five days (confirmation test).
<b>Results:</b> The following reference values were established: PA (after two-hour upright position) <0.03-1.05 nmol/l (mean: 0.47), PA/PRA ratio 0.05-0.47 (mean: 0.15) and urinary aldosterone excretion after sodium loading <3.0-47.0 nmol/24h (mean: 10.5). PRA showed a significant decrease with advancing age: median values in the 3rd to 7th decade are 3.9, 3.5, 2.5, 1.6 and 2.1 ng A1/ml/h respectively (p=0.04). PA was lower in subjects =50 years old. Age did not affect the PA/PRA ratio or the urinary aldosterone excretion. There were no significant differences between the sexes in any of the above-mentioned parameters.
<b>Conclusion:</b> In this study we established reference values for the screening and confirmation test used in the diagnosis of primary aldosteronism.