New therapy knocks out high BP with radio waves
London: Scientists have developed a radical therapy that could provide a permanent cure for high blood pressure by zapping the kidneys with radio waves.
The breakthrough by researchers from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute of Melbourne, Australia could bring hope to thousands of patients who do not respond to drugs.
The procedure known as renal denervation may be available on UK`s National Health Service as early as next year after trials showed it produced dramatic improvements in the condition, the Daily Mail reported.
High blood pressure is a risk factor in heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. Changes in lifestyle, such as cutting back on salt and alcohol and exercising, can control blood pressure and there are a number of drug treatments available.
Many who are on medication, as many as five different types, still have difficulty with it. It is this group who can be helped.
The technique uses a burst of radiofrequency energy delivered through a catheter to knock out a number of tiny nerves that run in the lining of the arteries of the kidney.
High blood pressure is sometimes caused by faulty signals from the brain to these nerves.
Latest findings from a trial showed reductions in blood pressure persist for at least 18 months after treatment.
A high blood pressure reading is one that exceeds 140/90 millimetres of mercury.
The latest trial involved more than 100 patients who had blood pressure readings of at least 178/97, despite taking three or more different drugs.
After 18 months, those having the procedure maintained a reduction of between 28/11 to 32/12.
"We are encouraged to see renal denervation shows substantial and sustained reduction in treatment-resistant patients," Dr Murray Esler from the institute was quoted as saying by the paper.
Although blood pressure does not sink to normal levels after treatment, it cuts the health risks of very high pressure.
The findings were presented at the European Cardiology Congress in Munich.