High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious condition that can lead to severe health problems, including heart failure, strokes, heart attacks, and kidney damage.
While lifestyle changes and medications can help manage the condition, about one-third of patients cannot control their blood pressure through these methods alone.
A new study conducted by researchers at Columbia University and the Université de Paris suggests that an investigational device using ultrasound to calm overactive nerves in the kidneys could significantly reduce blood pressure in middle-aged people with hypertension.
The device is applied through an outpatient procedure called ultrasound renal denervation, which is not yet approved by the FDA for use outside of clinical trials.
How Does It Work?
Middle-aged hypertension is often linked to overactive kidney nerves, which lead to water and sodium retention and hormone release that can elevate blood pressure.
The new ultrasound therapy targets these nerves directly, interrupting signals that contribute to hypertension.
The treatment is administered through a catheter inserted into a vein in the patient’s leg or wrist and threaded into the kidney.
What are the Results?
Data from three randomized trials involving over 500 patients showed that twice as many patients who underwent ultrasound therapy reached their target daytime blood pressure compared to those in the control groups.
The procedure was well-tolerated, with most patients discharged from the hospital the same day. Improvements in blood pressure were observed as early as one month after the procedure.
What’s the Future?
Researchers envision this therapy as a supplemental treatment alongside medication and lifestyle changes for patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
The goal is to prevent kidney damage and other negative impacts of uncontrolled high blood pressure. The device is currently awaiting FDA evaluation.
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The study was published in JAMA Cardiology.
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