Ultrasound kidney treatment may help beat tough high blood pressure

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High blood pressure or hypertension is a persistent issue that poses serious health risks, including heart failure, strokes, and kidney damage.

Despite medications and lifestyle changes, about a third of hypertensive patients fail to achieve controlled blood pressure levels.

A recent study led by researchers at Columbia University and Université de Paris provides new hope for these patients with the development of a device that uses ultrasound to treat hypertension by calming overactive nerves in the kidneys.

The Device and How It Works

The device, still investigational and pending FDA approval, is used in an outpatient procedure called ultrasound renal denervation. It focuses on the renal nerves in the kidney that are thought to play a role in triggering hypertension.

By calming these overactive nerves in the renal artery, the device disrupts signals that contribute to high blood pressure.

This therapy is administered via a catheter that is inserted into a vein in the leg or wrist and threaded to the kidney.

Study Outcomes

The study pooled data from three randomized trials involving more than 500 middle-aged patients with varying degrees of hypertension and medication use.

The device consistently reduced daytime ambulatory blood pressure by an average of 8.5 points. Moreover, twice as many patients who underwent the ultrasound therapy reached their target daytime blood pressure, as compared to those in the sham groups.

The procedure was well-tolerated, with most patients discharged from the hospital the same day.

What This Means for Patients

As stated by Dr. Ajay Kirtane, a co-leader of the study, once the device is available, it could be recommended to patients who have not responded to other forms of treatment.

This treatment aims not just at symptom control, but also at potentially preventing the irreversible damage that uncontrolled hypertension can cause to organs like the kidneys.

The device is still under investigation and will be evaluated by the FDA in the coming months.

If approved, it may become a game-changer in the treatment of hypertension, offering an alternative for those who have not responded to current available therapies.


This study opens a new chapter in the battle against hypertension.

If the device proves to be as effective in larger trials and receives regulatory approval, it could significantly alter the treatment landscape for hypertension, offering hope to those who have resisted traditional forms of treatment.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about High blood pressure meds: a double-edged sword? and findings of Switching blood pressure drugs may be more effective than doubling dose.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about new way to reduce blood pressure effectively, and results showing plant-based foods could benefit people with high blood pressure.

The research findings can be found in JAMA Cardiology.

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