Simple operation treats high blood pressure

A groundbreaking new treatment for high blood pressure, called renal denervation, has made its way to Australia. The treatment, still in its trial stages, involves a simple operation which can halve the risk of heart attack in those with drug-resistant hypertension.

Drug resistant hypertension is simply chronic high blood pressure which does not respond to medication. One cause of high blood pressure is malfunctioning nerves in the kidney, which tell the brain that the body’s blood pressure is too low. The brain then increases the body’s blood pressure to dangerously high levels.

The operation is a minimally-invasive procedure which disables these nerves. It involves a single-day or overnight stay at the hospital. The study currently shows that the procedure may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for lifelong medications. Patients in the UK who have undergone the procedure are still showing positive results 18 months later, so researchers are now simply waiting to see if the blood pressure drop holds.

The Alfred and St Vincent’s Hospitals in Victoria are both currently performing the procedure on a trial basis, but medical professionals worldwide are hoping the operation can become available to all those who could benefit from it in the near future.

High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for premature death, affecting one in three Australian adults.