New treatment for high blood pressure patients a 'potential revolution'

Published date : 30 August 2012
Article date : 30 August 2012

Reuters has reported on how Europeans suffering from high blood pressure, despite taking oral medication, now have a new renal dernavation treatment option in the form of devices that deaden nerves in the kidneys.
The United States has yet to approve the technology but several products are already available in Europe and researchers reported encouraging results from a series of studies testing them out in practice. 
Teams from Germany, France and the Czech Republic told the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting that the new procedure offered benefits to a range of patients and seemed to effectively rejuvenate ageing blood vessels.
Reuters say that the millions of people with hypertension resistant to drug therapy - putting them at risk of heart attacks and stroke - has encouraged several medical technology companies to invest in device-based high blood pressure treatments.  Device makers that have already received approval to sell hypertension devices in Europe include Medtronic, the frontrunner, as well as Covidien, St Jude Medical, ReCor Medical and Vessix Vascular. 
The new devices work by creating tiny scars along nerves in the kidneys - organs which play a pivotal role in regulating blood pressure by sending signals to the brain that can cause blood vessels to constrict. The scarring process is carried out by threading a catheter through the renal arteries from the groin. It deadens the nerves and decreases blood pressure. So far, there do not seem to be any worrying long-term side effects.
Cardiologists meeting in Munich said the technique had the potential to change blood pressure management and could in future be offered to a wider range of patients, not just those with the most obstinate hypertension.
Dr Gordon Tomaselli, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins and president of the American Heart Association was quoted as describing the treatmant as a 'potential revolution'.
Apparently, Dr Michael Boehm of Germany's University Hospital, Saarland, said that around 12,000 patients had now been treated in Europe, most of them in Germany, although the procedure was expensive, with each catheter costing approximately 3,750 euros ($4,700). 
Source: Reuters, (Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford), 27 August 2012
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