New Procedure Lowers Chronic High Blood Pressure


By Cile Waller

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Radiofrequency ablation of the renal sympathetic nervous system is a promising treatment for those with chronic high blood pressure, according to new research.

The procedure -- already used in a similar way to treat certain types of heart arrhythmias -- involves disabling nerves in the kidney by using radiofrequency signals through a catheter. Researchers used the procedure on 45 patients at five centers across Australia and Europe who had systolic blood pressure of at least 160 mmHg.

After the procedure, blood pressures were reduced by 14/10, 21/10, 22/11 and 27/17 after one, three, six and 12 months respectively. No complications were reported in the study.

"What we've shown is a procedure which is very simple, turns out to be safe and effective, and its results are sustained in lowering blood pressure in a population who clearly needs something additional to what we have at the moment," Henry Krum, MBBS, Ph.D., Director of the Centre of Cardiovascular Research & Education in Therapeutics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, said.

For patients how can't lower their blood pressure despite using multiple anti-hypertensive drugs, using this procedure could be an effective way to get their blood pressure under control and prevent heart attack and stroke. That's because over-activity of the renal sympathetic system plays an important role in the progression of high blood pressure.

The trial was the first to use renal sympathetic nerve ablation in humans.

SOURCE: Presented at The American College of Cardiology's 58th Annual Scientific Session, March 30, 2009

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