Hypertension can also be difficult to diagnose, with an estimated 6% to 10% of Americans going undiagnosed. The onset of hypertension is a gradual process that typically occurs over many years, often preceded by altered diurnal blood pressure patterns and prehypertension. Although hypertension is diagnosed with a defined blood pressure threshold, researchers think that heart damage may be caused by elevated blood pressures that do not yet meet this defined threshold.
The current study results may have important implications for clinical practice. Using the hs-cTNT, patients with blood pressure that fails to decrease normally during sleep (by greater than 10%), also known as “non-dippers,” may be identified earlier than with present blood pressure monitoring techniques.
Another group at risk for undetected hypertension who may benefit from hs-cTNT are those with “masked hypertension,” who present with normal blood pressure readings but who have home or ambulatory readings in the hypertensive range. Masked hypertension occurs in more than 10% of the adult population and is known to result in organ damage.
Elevated troponin-T levels were also found to be a risk factor for the development of left ventricular hypertrophy in patients without baseline hypertension or clinical cardiovascular disease.
Although further tests are necessary to confirm whether hs-cTNT is an effective and reliable predictor for hypertension, it may be clinically useful in identifying those at increased risk for poor cardiovascular outcomes.
McEvoy J, Chen Y, Nambi V, Ballantyne CM et al. High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin T and Risk of Hypertension. Circulation. 2015;doi:10.1161/circulationaha.114.014364.