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A neonate with idiopathic hyperaldosteronism


A boy with functional abnormalities of the gastro-intestinal tract, hyponatraemia, hypokalaemia and hypertension is described. All symptoms developed within the first 2 months of life. Increased aldosterone levels were associated with suppressed values in the renin-angiotensin system. The diagnosis of idiopathic hyperaldosteronism was made because of adrenal hyperplasia and the failure to suppress aldosterone to undetectable levels with glucocorticoids. Treatment with spironolactone alone, or in combination with either intravenous dopamine or ibopamine orally, amiloride, enalapril, hydralazine or clonidine corrected serum potassium values but failed to normalize blood pressure and to correct plasma renin activity and plasma aldosterone. However, the combination of spironolactone with nifedipine decreased blood pressure. Abnormal gastro-intestinal motility was corrected by low doses of oral magnesium hydroxide. To assess intracellular calcium homeostasis, the patient's peripheral blood mononuclear cells were incubated with increasing concentrations of calcium. As these cells failed to maintain physiological calcium concentration, a defect in intracellular calcium homeostasis was suspected.

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Correspondence to Raymond A. Donckerwolcke.

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Veenhoven, R.H., Vande Walle, J.G., Donckerwolcke, R.A. et al. A neonate with idiopathic hyperaldosteronism. Pediatr Nephrol 5, 680–684 (1991).

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Key words

  • Hypertension
  • Hypokalaemia
  • Gastro-intestinal motility disorder