Radio energy directed to nerves around the kidneys can be an effective way of treating patients with severe hypertension, a three-year clinical trial shows.
The study, conducted in Australia and Europe, confirms that the initial findings of a six-month trial that the benefits of a blood pressure lowering technique in a group of patients who have treatment resistant hypertension, were sustainable out to three years.
The new technique, called percutaneous renal sympathetic denervation, involves disrupting the nerves around the kidney that sends signals to the brain and kidneys to drive up blood pressure. The findings revealed no major short or long-term safety issues associated with the procedure.
The procedure is carried out under local anesthetic and uses radio energy frequency that delivered to the targeted nerve area via catheter. As a result the nerves are silenced in the renal artery, which supplies blood to the kidneys.
The World Health Organization estimates that hypertension affects around 40 percent of adults aged 25 and over and is responsible for 7.5 million deaths a year worldwide. It is a risk factor for heart disease—the leading cause of death in Australia—and a number of other conditions including, stroke, heart failure, renal impairment, and visual impairment.
Henry Krum, professor and director of Monash University’s Centre of Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics led the research collaboration around the study, which is published in The Lancet.
“These findings support the durability of the procedure and its clinical utility in a group of severe hypertensive patients who have run out of further treatment options,” Krum says, adding, now that the procedure could be safely introduced into the clinic, it would save lives and improve quality of life for hypertension sufferers.
Medtronic funded the study.
Source: Monash University