European guidelines recommend that patients with hypertension be assessed for asymptomatic organ damage and secondary causes. The authors propose that a single magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can provide comprehensive first-line imaging of patients assessed via a specialist hypertension clinic. A total of 200 patients (56% male, aged 51±15 years, office BP 168±30/96±16 mm Hg) underwent MRI of the heart, kidneys, renal arteries, adrenals and aorta. Comparisons were made with other imaging modalities where available. A total of 61% had left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), 14% had reduced ejection fraction, and 15 patients had myocardial infarcts. Echocardiography overdiagnosed LVH in 15% of patients and missed LVH in 14%. Secondary causes were identified in 14.5% of patients: 12 adrenal masses, 10 renal artery stenoses, seven thyroid abnormalities, one aortic coarctation, one enlarged pituitary gland, one polycystic kidney disease, and one renal coloboma syndrome. This comprehensive MRI protocol is an effective method of screening for asymptomatic organ damage and secondary causes of hypertension.
- Bristol Heart Institute