New Device to Help Treatment-Resistant High Blood Pressure Now in Use at Four U.S. Hospitals

March 8, 2024
Cardiologists hope that the device, which uses ultrasound energy to deaden nerves correlated with high blood pressure, will help patients have to take less medication

A new device, brought to market in late 2023, is being tested further to determine its efficacy in lowering blood pressure in patients with difficult-to-treat hypertension.

According to Florian Rader, MD, MSc, medical director of the Hypertension Center of Excellence in the Smidt Heart Institute, this tool is another in the hospital’s arsenal for “patients who have not otherwise been able to control high blood pressure with medication or lifestyle changes.” The hope is that this device could mean that some of these patients would have “to take fewer daily medications” and lessen their risk of “heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure” as a result of their treatment-resistant high blood pressure.

The device works by delivering “ultrasound energy through the arteries of the kidneys to deaden surrounding nerves that are overactive in many people with hypertension.” The procedure to install the device involves a cardiologist installing a catheter into one of the renal arteries. On the tip of the catheter “is an ultrasound transducer that is covered by a water-filled balloon to cool and help protect the lining of the renal artery.” The cardiologist then uses a remote control to “send the ultrasound energy through the wall of the renal artery to the surrounding nerves” before repeating the process to the renal artery going into the other kidney.

Rader, the principal investigator of the trial, hopes that this process can lessen the burden on treatment-resistant high blood pressure patients, who “often take upward of four medications to manage their condition.”

Suhail Dohad, MD, “an interventional cardiologist…who has performed the procedure,” touts the new method as a “novel way to target a neurobiological process involved in hypertension for which medications are not always effective.”

Cedars-Sinai’s website has the release.