Despite lifestyle measures and modern blood pressure lowering drugs, a proportion of patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) have persistently high BP despite multiple medications. Alternative approaches to treatment of high BP have been developed based on our understanding of the role that the nerves to the kidneys play in regulating blood pressure.
The nerves travel from and to the brain alongside the aorta and then pass alongside the kidney or renal artery.
A new treatment has been developed which allows us to obliterate the kidney’s nerve supply using high frequency electrical energy without affecting kidney function.
The procedure involves passing a catheter into the femoral artery in the groin, in the same way we do when doing a coronary angiogram, under X-ray guidance, threading the specially designed catheter into the kidney arteries. An electrical current is then administered at several points along the artery which destroys the renal nerves.
In recent published studies a significant reduction in BP was seen within a few weeks of the treatment. This allows patients to achieve better BP control although they continue to need treatment – just less of it for more benefit.