'Amazing treatment' targets high blood pressure
Aug. 02--Since learning five years ago that he had high blood pressure, Jeffrey
Firebaugh has tried six or seven types and combinations of medications to
control it. Nothing has worked.
"I've pretty much taken about everything you can take for it," said
Firebaugh, 32. "It's been a struggle."
He hopes that taking part in tests for a new investigational procedure
offered by doctors at Washington University School of Medicine will get him
healthy again. The procedure involves damaging nerves in the arteries that
deliver blood to the kidneys, which play an important role in controlling
In people with uncontrollable high blood pressure -- known as resistant
hypertension -- nerves in the kidney's arteries often fire at abnormally high
rates. By interrupting the nerve firing, the kidneys may be less active in
secreting chemicals that lead to blood pressure elevation.
"This is an amazing treatment. It could have huge impact down the road,"
said Dr. Jasvindar Singh, cardiologist and associate professor who is leading
the study at Washington U., one of several sites participating in the research
across the country.
The one-time procedure does not harm kidney function or decrease blood
pressure too much, Singh said. Tests in Europe have shown no side effects or
regeneration of the nerves, he added.
If results are positive, the procedure could be lifesaving for those who
don't respond to or can't take medications. It could even wipe out the need to
take medicine, Singh said. About 25 percent of adults have hypertension, and
of those 25 percent have resistant hypertension.
To damage the nerves, doctors insert a catheter through the groin and
into the kidney's arteries, where they apply heat to some of the nerves. It
takes about 40 minutes, Singh said.
Study participants will be followed for three years with periodic clinic
visits and continue taking their medication. To participate, patients must be
taking at least three medications at the highest tolerated doses and still
have high blood pressure. They will also undergo a screening test and an
angiogram. For more information call 314-362-1962, or email
Firebaugh wants to return to hiking, riding his bike and fishing. "My
goal is to get it (blood pressure) down to a healthy level where I don't have
to take medications anymore, and I can manage it with diet and exercise," he
(c)2012 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Disclaimer: References or links to other sites from Wellness.com does not constitute recommendation or endorsement by Wellness.com.
We bear no responsibility for the content of websites other than Wellness.com.