New blood pressure trial operation by Barts surgeons gives hope to hypertension patients
- Credit: Barts NHS
A one-off operation that targets the nerves connected to the kidney has been devised by surgeons at Barts and the Royal London that reduces blood pressure in hypertension patients for at least six months.
An international clinical trial led in the UK by Queen Mary University and Barts Health NHS Trust also found that the patients undergoing the new procedure needed fewer blood pressure medications.
The surgery offers hope to patients with high blood pressure who don’t respond to drugs and are at risk of stroke and heart attack.
“These results point towards an exciting future for this new technology,” Queen Mary University’s Prof Melvin Lobo from Barts Health trust explained.
“We hope the renal ‘denerve’ therapy could soon be offered as an alternative to many lifelong medications for hypertension, if long-term safety is proved in larger trials now under way.”
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The international trial carried out at Bart’s Biomedical research centre, published in the Circulation medical journal and presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans, tested a one-hour renal ‘de-nerve’ operation which uses ultrasound to disrupt nerve signals controlling blood pressure between kidneys and brain.
Patients in Britain, the US, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and the US were randomly selected to receive either de-nerve or a ‘sham’ procedure.
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Renal ‘denervation’ led to a significant and safe lowering of blood pressure after just two months in patients not taking medication.
Some 140 patients in the second part of the study were investigated to see if renal ‘de-nerve’ remained effective in those who had the option to re-set their blood pressure medication.
They found blood pressure lowering was maintained for six months after the operation with 58 per cent achieving control.
Most patients had needed additional medications to improve blood pressure control.
But more than twice as many patients were completely free of medication at six months after the operation compared to those given the ‘sham’ treatment.
There were no safety concerns in either group throughout the six months experiment, the health trust assured.