Scientists find a new way to detect and treat common cause of high blood pressure

Credit: Mikhail Nilov / Pexels

A new type of CT scan has been discovered that can detect tiny nodules in a hormone gland and cure high blood pressure by their removal, according to a study from the Queen Mary University of London and other institutions.

The nodules are found in 1 in 20 people with high blood pressure and have posed a problem for doctors for the past 60 years as they are difficult to detect without a catheter study, which is only available in a few hospitals and often fails.

In the study, the researchers scanned 128 patients who had hypertension caused by the steroid hormone aldosterone.

They found that in two-thirds of patients with elevated aldosterone secretion, the hormone originated from a benign nodule in just one of the adrenal glands, which could be safely removed.

The scan uses a short-acting dose of metomidate, a radioactive dye that sticks only to the aldosterone-producing nodule.

The scan was as accurate as the old catheter test but was 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.

By contrast, the combination of a “hot nodule” on the scan and urine steroid test detected 18 of the 24 patients who achieved normal blood pressure off all their drugs.

The team says these aldosterone-producing nodules are very small and easily overlooked on a regular CT scan.

When they glow for a few minutes after injection, they are revealed as the obvious cause of hypertension, which can often then be cured. Until now, 99% are never diagnosed because of the difficulty and unavailability of tests.

The researchers also found that, when combined with a urine test, the scan detects a group of patients who come off all their blood pressure medicines after treatment.

The team says these results are promising and could offer a potential solution to the issue of high blood pressure caused by aldosterone-secreting nodules.

The team said that the discovery could lead to a significant reduction in the number of people suffering from high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

They also noted that the combination of the new CT scan and urine test could potentially save lives by identifying patients who would benefit from surgery to remove the nodules.

The team hopes that the new CT scan and urine test will become more widely available in hospitals across the world, offering a non-invasive and reliable way to diagnose high blood pressure caused by aldosterone-secreting nodules.

Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of the new CT scan and urine test in larger patient populations.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about how fasting may help reverse high blood pressure, and this olive oil could reduce blood pressure in healthy people.

For more information about blood pressure health, please read studies that cherry concentrate could lower blood pressure as much as drugs, and 3 grams of omega-3s a day keep high blood pressure at bay.

The study was conducted by Professor Morris Brown et al and published in Nature Medicine.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.