1. The determination of aldosterone-18-glucuronide (pH 1-labile aldosterone) was complemented by concomitant measurements of free urinary aldosterone and tetrahydroaldosterone in 307 patients, most of whom were hypertensive. In 38 cases (12·3%) the normal, aldosterone-18-glucuronide concentration was clinically misleading, but increased free aldosterone and/or tetrahydroaldosterone values suggested the presence of hyperaldosteronism, which in many of these cases was confirmed by elevated excretion of the possible major aldosterone precursor 18-hydroxycorticosterone (18-OH-B).
2. Of 224 patients with essential hypertension and normal or low plasma renin activity 18 had an elevated free aldosterone and/or tetrahydroaldosterone excretion without increased aldosterone-18-glucuronide. These cases may represent early or pre-symptomatic forms of primary hyperaldosteronism. In other cases, particularly when tetrahydroaldosterone was increased alone, abnormalities of aldosterone metabolism were suspected.
3. In two out of 15 patients with primary hyperaldosteronism, aldosterone-18-glucuronide values were frequently found to be normal, although elevations were noted in other variables. However, no relation to the morphological abnormality (adenoma versus hyperplasia) was seen.