6 September 2019 – Hypertension is a serious and underestimated silent killer in Singapore and around the world, with one in four adults1 (25 years and above) here diagnosed with the illness. Left untreated, hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart, kidney disease and stroke.

The Global Burden of Disease 2017 report finds that hypertension accounts for about 48 per cent of deaths from cardiovascular disease in Singapore. Recent studies indicate that as many as 32.6 per cent of Singaporean adults diagnosed and treated for hypertension continue to have uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) readings despite medications (systolic BP ≥ 140 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥ 90 mmHg).

While most patients with hypertension have no underlying curable cause, about 5% of patients may have a potentially curable form called primary aldosteronism, caused by an underlying hormone excess. Recognising and treating this condition in patients with severe, treatment– resistant hypertension is important as treatment to cure hypertension is possible for about half of these patients.

A novel imaging technique can identify the source of the hormone excess in patients with primary aldosteronism, according to Professor Roger Foo from the Department of Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) and Senior Consultant Cardiologist at the National University Heart Centre, Singapore, and Adjunct Assistant Professor Troy Puar, Consultant Endocrinologist at Changi General Hospital (CGH). They believe that these findings are pertinent to Singapore and also relevant to patients worldwide.