• U.S.

Medicine: Kidneys & Blood Pressure

2 minute read
TIME

Cleveland doctors were so excited by an explanation of high blood pressure which Professor Harry Goldblatt of Western Reserve University gave them at an informal lecture in St. Luke’s Hospital last week that they let the cat out of the satchel, took the edge off the effect his report will have before the American College of Physicians at St. Louis a fortnight hence. Dr. Goldblatt was frankly miffed.

The heart, the blood vessels and the kidneys work together in taking care of the fluids of the body. In good health, fluid swallowed as drink or inj food is absorbed from the lower intestine into the lymph system, into the blood stream. Most fluid which the blood does not require strains through the kidneys into the bladder. Any clogging of the kidneys causes a back pressure of blood in the arteries and heart.

Any hardening of the arteries or chronic contraction of the very fine blood vessels also causes back pressure on the heart, and usually extra pressure upon the straining mechanism of the kidneys.

In the miles of blood vessels in the body and the yards of drainage tubules in the kidneys, a vast variety of troublesome conditions may cause high blood pressure. There is one condition, however, which always occurs in the beginning of hypertension, Dr. Goldblatt announced last week. That is a reduction in the amount of blood supplied to the kidneys. Dr. Goldblatt determined this by attaching tiny silver clamps to the kidney arteries of dogs. With the blood supply cut off from the kidneys, they began to deteriorate and produced an undetermined substance which affected the adrenal glands (one on each kidney) and irritated blood vessels throughout the body, thus causing high blood pressure.

No operation on the nervous system, such as Cleveland’s Surgeon George Washington Crile advocates, prevented high blood pressure in dogs whose kidney arteries Dr. Goldblatt clamped. Excising the adrenals prevented and cured the high blood pressure. But no adrenalectomized creature, including man, can live more than a few months. So Dr. Goldblatt, with a good explanation for high blood pressure in his notebook, does not know what to do about it.

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