In a new study, researchers found that a one-off operation could help treat high blood pressure.
The surgery targets the nerves connected to the kidney and could maintain reduced blood pressure in hypertension patients for at least 6 months.
The patients treated with the procedure required fewer blood pressure medications.
The research was led in the UK by Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust.
In the study, the one-hour operation is called ‘renal denervation’. It uses ultrasound energy to disrupt the nerves between the kidneys and the brain that carry signals for controlling blood pressure.
The team examined patients in the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
The patients received either renal denervation or a ‘sham procedure’ — the surgical equivalent of a placebo.
They found that the surgery led to a strong and safe blood pressure lowering effect after two months in patients not taking blood pressure drugs.
The team also tested 140 patients to see if renal denervation remained effective in patients who had the option of restarting their blood pressure medication if required.
They found that the blood pressure lowering the effect of renal denervation was maintained six months after the operation.
Though the majority of patients needed the addition of drugs to improve blood pressure control, more than twice as many patients were completely free of medication at 6 months in the treatment group.
Renal denervation reduced blood pressure to a greater extent at six months, and there were no safety concerns in either group throughout the six months.
The team believes that if the findings are confirmed in larger and longer clinical trials, the surgery could offer hope to people with high blood pressure.
This can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack.
One author of the study is Professor Melvin Lobo from Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust.
The study is published in the journal Circulation.
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