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Scientists Lower Blood Pressure Using Radio Waves

Scientists Lower Blood Pressure Using Radio Waves

Blasting radio waves at the kidneys may be an effective way to combat high blood pressure…

treat high blood pressure with radio waves 300x245 Scientists Lower Blood Pressure Using Radio Waves

Scientists Lower Blood Pressure Using Radio Waves

Scientists have developed a radical new technique to treat high blood pressure by blasting radio waves at the kidney to disable nerves that are associated with high blood pressure.

Although many cases of high blood pressure can be controlled with medication, the new procedure offers hope to the 50% of patients who do not respond to drugs.

An Australian team led by Professor Murray Esler at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, has been working with 24 centers worldwide to test the effectiveness and safety of the new treatment.

In trials involving more than 100 patients, the team found that after six months, 41 of 49 patients who underwent the procedure had reduced blood pressure levels of at least 10mmHg.

While 10mmHg is not enough to return blood pressure level to normal, it is sufficient to greatly reduce the health risks associated with the condition.

Furthermore, the team has yet to find any side effects, save recovering from the slightly invasive operation.

To perform the procedure doctors insert a catheter – a thin piece of stainless steel surgical tubing – into an artery in the groin and up into the kidney. The catheter is connected to machine that generates radio frequency energy, and these radio waves are used to ‘knock out’ the tiny nerves that line the arteries of the kidney.

By disabling the signals these nerves send, the procedure effectively reduces blood pressure.

Nearly one-third of adults in the U.S., and England suffer from high blood pressure. The condition puts an extreme a strain on the heart and can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, as well as other health problems.

The new treatment is undergoing testing, but experts are hopeful that the procedure could one day help hundreds of thousands of patients.

The new study is described in The Lancet medical journal.

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