Scientists switch off nerves to treat high blood pressure
Apr 2, 2009 - 11:32:06 AM
Sydney, April 2 - Medical scientists have pioneered a breakthrough that dramatically deflates high blood pressure, based on a new catheter-based treatment for the life-threatening condition.
The results of this highly anticipated study are expected to revolutionise treatment options for high blood pressure - around the world.
High BP is a major health burden globally, causing many debilitating health problems and even sudden death. Around 30-40 percent of the populace is estimated to suffer from high BP out of which about 15 percent are resistant to traditional therapies.
The trial involved inserting a catheter through the femoral artery - of 50 patients suffering from severe and resistant hypertension - a dangerous form of high BP not responsive to traditional medications.
Conducted under a local anaesthetic, the procedure delivered radio-energy frequency through a catheter to 'silence' sympathetic nerves in the renal artery supplying blood to the kidneys.
It has long been understood that the sympathetic nerve system and nerves in the renal artery are heavily involved in BP regulation in the way they interact with the kidneys - but until now there has not been a safe way to access and 'switch off' these nerves before the damage is done.
This one-off procedure, conducted on both kidneys, has the potential to substantially reduce premature ill health and mortality attributed to high BP.
These findings have been published in The Lancet.
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