New therapy knocks out high BP with radio waves

LONDON (TIP): A radical new therapy could knock out high blood pressure by zapping the kidneys with radio waves, a new research demonstrates. The procedure may be available early after trials produced dramatic improvements in the condition. It could be offering succour to the thousands of blood pressure patients who don’t respond to drugs. The technique delivers a burst of radio frequency energy through a catheter to deactivate tiny nerves present in the lining of the kidney arteries. High blood pressure (BP) may be caused by faulty signals from the brain to these nerves.

Tens of millions of people suffer from high BP, a third of whom don’t know they do, and the condition is a risk factor in heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, the Daily Mail reports. Cutting back on salt and alcohol and exercising, can control BP. But many who are on medication, as many as five different types, still have difficulty with it. It is this group who can be helped.

Mark Caulfield, professor at the William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary College, London, who has been involved in trials of the technique – known as renal denervation – said: “It could make a profound difference to a significant minority of high-risk patients, it might be tens of thousands.” Latest findings from a trial show reductions in BP persist for at least 18 months after treatment. Doctors in the UK are setting up a registry to allow long-term monitoring of all those having the procedure, but so far trials have shown no ill-effects.

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