December 18, 2012

‘Zapping’ kidney nerves could treat high blood pressure

Doctor taking a womans blood pressureInactivating nerves close to the kidney with focussed high frequency energy waves could be used to reduce high blood pressure in hard to treat patients, according to new research.

In a follow-up to their recent international multicentre study, researchers have shown that this new treatment maintains lower blood pressure for at least six months and up to a year in patients with resistant hypertension.

High blood pressure is commonly treated with medications. However, some patients have resistant hypertension which means that even when taking up to four different drugs their blood pressure remains too high. The new once only procedure shows promise as a useful additional way to help patients whose blood pressure doesn’t respond well to the drugs alone.

This will not be right for everyone and we don’t know yet whether the benefit and safety will be long-lasting

Our Associate Medical Director Professor Jeremy Pearson said: “Many people don’t realise that your kidneys play a part in controlling your blood pressure. This study showed the potential of a new treatment, which tackles high blood pressure by blocking the action of specific nerves near the kidney.

“These nerves are important in controlling blood pressure, and this is a relatively simple procedure that could be beneficial for people who don’t respond to treatments currently available.

“It’s very important to find new treatments for high blood pressure, because it leads to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and can be difficult to tackle. However, this new treatment will not be right for everyone, and we don’t know yet whether the benefit and safety will be long-lasting.

“In many cases, high blood pressure can be controlled by the best combination of existing medications alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle – so if you’re worried about your treatment, speak to your GP.”

More information

Find out about how high blood pressure can effect your heart and how you can control it.