Toronto: A minimally invasive surgical procedure called renal denervation can significantly lower blood pressure (BP) in patients who are unable to control it with drugs.
The nearly painless procedure has been tried out for the first time by doctors at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) in Canada. It involves de-activating nerves located on the outside of the artery that feeds blood to the kidney, thereby lowering BP.
BP patients have to endure an especially high risk of heart attacks and stroke, which continue to kill tens of thousands of people worldwide every year, according to a Peter Munk statement.
The first Canadian patient to undergo the procedure of renal denervation, is a 57-year-old male from Toronto, who will be discharged after overnight observation.
The procedure was performed by a team of Dheeraj Rajan, interventional radiology specialist, Douglas Ing, cardiologist, and George Oreopoulos, vascular surgeon. The team recently returned from Germany, where they trained for the procedure.
Barry Rubin, medical director of PMCC, said: "Decreasing a patient`s systolic blood pressure from 160 to 130 mm Hg (mercury) over a period of six months, which this procedure has been shown to do, could prevent many heart attacks and strokes."
"Renal denervation could also save the healthcare system countless millions of dollars by minimizing the need for anti-hypertension drugs..., to say nothing of the millions more in savings from not having to treat heart attacks and strokes that don`t happen," added Rubin.
The procedure was first used on patients in Australia, and its effects were reported in a clinical trial published in the Dec 4, 2010, issue of medical journal, The Lancet.