Melbourne: Scientists have developed a revolutionary new procedure to treat high blood pressure that could save lives and improve quality of life for millions of hypertension sufferers.
Final results of a three-year clinical trial led by Monash university assessed the novel procedure to treat blood pressure.
The study, conducted in Australia and Europe, found that the initial reports of a six-month blood pressure lowering benefit in this group of patients, who have treatment resistant hypertension, are sustained out to three years.
The new technique, called percutaneous renal sympathetic denervation, involves disrupting the nerves around the kidney that sends signals to the brain and kidneys to drive up blood pressure. There were no major short or long-term safety issues associated with the procedure.
Percutaneous renal sympathetic denervation is carried out under local anaesthetic and uses radio energy frequency, delivered to the targeted nerve area via catheter.
As a result the nerves are silenced in the renal artery, which supplies blood to the kidneys.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that hypertension affects around 40 per cent of adults aged 25 and over and is responsible for 7.5 million deaths a year worldwide, researchers said.
It is a risk factor for heart disease and a number of other conditions including, stroke, heart failure, renal impairment and visual impairment.
Professor Henry Krum, Director of Monash University's Centre of Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics, said the procedure could be safely introduced into the clinic, it would save lives and improve quality of life for hypertension sufferers.
"These findings support the durability of the procedure and its clinical utility in a group of severe hypertensive patients who have run out of further treatment options," said Krum, who led the study.
The study was published in the journal, The Lancet.