People with stubborn high blood pressure may now hope for a new treatment – renal denervation, reports Amanda Schaffer of New York Times. In spite of the many combination of drugs available for treating high blood pressure, a very large number of people do not find relief. Their blood pressure remains high, increasing risk of heart attack and stroke.
Doctors are now experimenting with a new technique to reverse hypertension or at least reduce the risks in those patients who have no other options left. The procedure called renal denervation involves threading a catheter into arteries that go into the kidney. Pulses of radio frequency energy are then sent through these to interrupt the nerve signaling to and fro from the kidney.
The treatment is available in Europe and Australia. Clinical trials conducted outside the US, find that renal denervation in combination with drugs may help reduce high blood pressure in patients who do not respond to standard treatments. A large randomized clinical trial on renal denervation, sponsored by Medtronic is currently going on in the United States.
Watch the renal denervation procedure in the video below:
The Kidney and Blood Pressure
Kidney function is very important where blood pressure regulation is concerned. Kidney is responsible for the excretion of salt and water from the body which affects blood volume and blood pressure. Kidney communicates with the brain and tells it when to pump more or when to narrow down arteries. The standard treatment for blood pressure interrupts these signals in various ways and either relax the blood vessels or bring down blood volume.
However, over 10% to 20% of people with high blood pressure do not have enough suitable options for controlling their hypertension. These people may benefit once renal-denervation procedure is approved by the FDA.
Video credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYGccTdFaSk
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