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CT scan can 'detect and cure' common cause of high blood pressure

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CT scan can 'detect and cure' common cause of high blood pressure

A 10-minute CT scan has been used to detect and remove the most common cause of high blood pressure, according to new research published in Nature Medicine, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and Medical Research Council (MRC) partnership, Barts Charity and the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Doctors at Queen Mary University of London, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and Cambridge University Hospital treated patients with the scan that works by lighting up nodules in the hormone glands, which are then cured and removed. The nodules are located after the patient receives an injection which then makes them glow. One in 20 people with high blood pressure have these nodules.

The scan was used on around 128 people after finding their high blood pressure was caused by hormone, aldosterone.  

“These aldosterone-producing nodules are very small and easily overlooked on a regular CT scan,” said Morris Brown, co-senior author of the study and professor of endocrine hypertension at Queen Mary University of London.

“When they glow for a few minutes after our injection, they are revealed as the obvious cause of hypertension, which can often then be cured. Until now, 99 per cent are never diagnosed because of the difficulty and unavailability of tests. Hopefully this is about to change.”

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