London Chest Hospital NHS trials could help high blood pressure patients
- Credit: Barts NHS
An international clinical trial which could save lives of people with high blood pressure without having to use drugs every day is under way involving patients in London’s East End.
The team at the Hypertension clinic at the London Chest Hospital is testing a new device to improve blood pressure in patients with resistant hypertension—where three or more drugs have failed to control it.
The treatment could lead to a reduced risk of stroke or heart attack.
“This procedure which is fully reversible could benefit those in constant fear of a heart attack or stroke,” explained the clinic’s director, Dr Mel Lobo.
“It only involves structures remote from vital organs, unlike renal denervation which destroys the nerves supplying the kidneys.
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“Patients may ultimately be freed from the need to take drugs every day of their lives.”
The ‘silent killer’ doesn’t have obvious symptoms—anyone could be unaware they are sufferers, the Barts Health NHS Trust points out.
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The treatment being tried out at the chest hospital in Bethnal Green involves a minimally invasive catheter procedure that puts a small coupler between the artery and vein in the thigh.
The device works by reducing the resistance to blood flow and diverting some arterial blood to the veins.
Mum-of-two Jackie Walker, 51, is one of the first patients to undergo the trials.
“I’ve been living with high blood pressure for eight years after being pregnant with my second child,” she said.
“I first noticed something was wrong when I started getting headaches and became tired quickly. I also had awful side effects from drugs like hair loss, nausea and difficulty breathing.
“I’m hoping I can now stop living with a dark cloud hanging over me—the worry I might have a stroke or a heart attack is always in the back of my mind.”
High blood pressure, left untreated, causes half the deaths from stroke and heart disease in the world today, as well as being a major cause of chronic kidney disease.