March 31, 2009
Researchers bring back old treatments
Two U.S. medical device companies are trying to bring back the use of some old blood pressure treatments, updated with high-tech gadgetry.
Two small studies presented Monday at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology suggest severing nerves or zapping neck arteries can substantially decrease blood pressure, the Wall Street Journal reported. Those type of procedures were used more 50 years ago but were largely discontinued because of the risk of major complications, the newspaper said.
Ardian Inc. of California has developed a minimally-invasive procedure in which an electrode-tipped catheter is used to disrupt renal nerves in a way that triggers the body's own regulation mechanisms to lower blood pressure, the company said.
The second procedure, being being developed by CVRx Inc., of Minnesota, involves implanting a device beneath the collarbone that sends out electrical impulses to activate baroreceptors in the body that help maintain blood pressure. When the baroreceptors are activated, signals are sent through neural pathways to the brain and interpreted as a rise in blood pressure.
The devices are seen as a future treatment option for patients who can't control their high blood
pressure with medications, researchers said.