A minimally invasive surgical procedure that targets nerves leading to the kidneys could one day offer a safe way for some people to reduce their blood pressure medications.
Scientists find a new way to optimize blood pressure control.
Investigators have announced the 6-month results of an international clinical trial on the safety and effectiveness of renal denervation by ultrasound as a treatment for mild to moderate high blood pressure.
The findings featured recently at the American College of Cardiology Conference in New Orleans and in a study paper in the journal Circulation.
Surgeons carry out the procedure, which takes about 1 hour, under local anaesthetic. It decreases activity in nerves that link the brain to the kidneys and carry signals that regulate blood pressure.
The 2-month results from the randomized, controlled trial had already shown that the procedure resulted in a more significant reduction in blood pressure, compared with a “sham operation.”
None of the people in the trial took their blood pressure drugs during the first 2 months. They then resumed blood pressure medication in a managed way, as necessary.
Now, the more recent results reveal that the participants who underwent the ultrasound surgery maintained their reduced blood pressure for 6 months.
Compared with those who had the sham operation, fewer participants who had the surgery needed to resume blood pressure medication, and those who did required fewer drugs at lower doses.
“These results,” says lead trial investigator in the United Kingdom Melvin D. Lobo, a professor at Queen Mary University in London and also of Barts Health NHS Trust, both in the U.K., “point towards an exciting future for this new technology.”