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New Procedure Is Game-Changing For Patients With High Blood Pressure, Doctors Say

via CBS Miami

A new FDA-approved minimally invasive procedure targets nerves near the kidneys to control high blood pressure in patients with treatment-resistant hypertension.

The procedure uses devices to ablate overactive sympathetic nerves, potentially reducing blood pressure for at least five years.

The risks include potential artery damage, but studies have shown positive results in lowering blood pressure. (Trending: Trans Athlete Breaks College Record After Joining Women’s Team)

Dr. Samin Sharma said, “When the device came, we said, ‘We are going to try it on you,’” said Sharma.

“He said yes and was very happy,” added Sharma. “The treatment uses a device that ablates the overstimulated sympathetic nerves near the kidneys.”

“The procedure is intended for individuals who do not show blockage of the kidney arteries,” Sharma noted.

“You kind of destroy the nerve endings,” he continued. “There is most likely no negative impact on the kidneys,” Sharma explained.

“Damage can occur in about one in 500 cases,” Sharma admitted. “We don’t expect this to happen, but that is a [potential] complication,” said Sharma.

Patients who underwent the procedure reported reduced reliance on medications and improved physical activity.

However, further research is needed to determine its appropriate role in clinical practice.

Dr. Manesh R. Patel, M.D., chief of cardiology and co-director of the Duke Heart Center said, “In high-quality randomized studies, the renal denervation procedure has been shown to improve blood pressure control … in patients with difficult-to-control blood pressure and those with high blood pressure who are on one or two medications.”

“Hypertension is the most frequent modifiable risk factor for heart disease, and blood pressure control in our country is not where it needs to be,” said the doctor.

“Therefore, having a procedure to support control, on top of medications, is an important step forward,” he continued.

Adding, “The studies done to date have shown the renal denervation procedure has been well-tolerated and there has been a low risk of causing any damage.”

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