TopicsHealth & WellbeingResearch digest: treating high blood pressure

Research digest: treating high blood pressure

Research using a new type of CT scan has enabled doctors to detect and cure the most common cause of high blood pressure.

The 10-minute scan lights up tiny nodules in a hormone gland and their removal can cure high blood pressure. The nodules are discovered in one in 20 people with the condition.

For the study, 128 people used the new scan after doctors found that their high blood pressure was caused by a steroid hormone, aldosterone. The scan found that in two-thirds of patients with elevated aldosterone secretion, the hormone was coming from a benign nodule in just one of the adrenal glands, which could be safely removed.

The scan uses a radioactive dye that sticks only to the aldosterone-producing nodule. The scan was as accurate as the old catheter test, but quick, painless and technically successful in every patient. Until now, the catheter test was unable to predict which patients would be completely cured of hypertension by surgical removal of the gland.

Nature Medicine

Image credit | Shutterstock


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