This site is intended for health professionals only

Small growths appear to raise blood pressure

Treating small benign tumours in the adrenal glands could prevent cases of high blood pressure, research has revealed. 

Up to 10% of hypertension cases could be caused by small tumours claim researchers from the University of Cambridge.

The tumours, caused by a hormone imbalance, could be removed with a cutting-edge screening process,

Using a 'PET-CT scanner', clinicians could detect which patients have the tiny adrenal nodules, which can be removed to completely cure their high blood pressure. 

The study, published in Nature Genetics, said that young patients could avoid a lifetime of medication. 

Around 5% of high blood pressure cases are down to large growths, but researchers argues that the discovery of the small tumours means far more people than expected have preventable blood pressure.

British Heart Foundation associate medical director, Professor Jeremy Pearson, said: “Standard techniques are limited for detecting small adrenal nodules.

"But this brand-new combination of genetic testing and high-tech scanning will allow clinicians to work out quickly and accurately if someone has high blood pressure as a result of these problems with their adrenal gland.

“It is an exciting development, as this group of patients can be completely cured of high blood pressure once they have been identified, so the quicker they are diagnosed the better.”