When the drugs don't work

3 September 2013        

Blood pressure equipment

Your donations are helping researchers to develop a ground-breaking treatment for people with hard-to-treat high blood pressure.

Around one in twenty people with high blood pressure have 'resistant hypertension'. This means the medication they are prescribed is not effectively lowering their blood pressure, leaving them at risk of developing heart disease.

This potential new treatment has real promise.


A new discovery, made by researchers we are funding at the University of Bristol, could offer hope to this group of patients. Professor Julian Paton and his team found that by blocking nerve endings in the neck, in a tiny nodule called the carotid body, blood pressure fell and remained low.

Their recent discovery in rats has since led to a human clinical trial at the Bristol Heart Institute, and results are expected at the end of the year.

Our Associate Medical Director Jeremy Pearson said:

“For around one in twenty people with high blood pressure, taking pills does not help their condition. This research in rats, has found, that blocking special nerve endings in the neck significantly reduces blood pressure.

“This breakthrough has already kicked-off a small trial to find out whether this treatment is safe and effective in people with high blood pressure which is resistant to medication. This potential new treatment has real promise to help this hard-to-treat group of patients.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Donate today