First Patients Undergo New Procedure to reduce high blood pressure
15th Jul 2011
Blackrock Clinic now has a potential solution for patients who have not been able to bring down their high blood pressure through drug therapies and life-style changes.
Renal denervation, a new surgical method of reducing blood pressure, was performed today for the first time by Drs Peter Crean, Charles McCreery and Martin Quinn at Blackrock Clinic. While renal denervation is very new (only 1500 patients worldwide have undergone the procedure so far), what is very exciting about it is that it may produce large and long-term reductions in blood pressure in the majority of patients who have been unable to reduce their levels prior to this.
In short, the procedure uses a catheter with an electrode tip through which low powered energy is administered along each renal artery to disrupt the nerves. If the nerves leading into and out of the kidneys are over active, they are known to raise blood pressure. By disrupting or damaging these nerves, blood pressure is reduced. The catheter enters the renal arteries via the femoral artery in the groin, and it is a relatively low risk, straight forward day procedure.
The company which developed the catheter system, has conducted research on 200 patients, the results of which have been published in The Lancet in 2009 and 2010. The study demonstrated that renal denervation can safely be used to substantially reduce blood pressure in treatment resistant hypertensive patients, without serious adverse events.
We are in the process of making an application to the health insurers to have this technique covered by them, but in the interim, patients may choose to self pay. At present, the procedure will cost just under €7,000 and a payment scheme will be available, enabling patients to spread the cost over a set period. High blood pressure is a widespread issue with one in three adults suffering from it. Renal denervation is therefore a very valuable technique which is why the above team of cardiologists and the management team decided to bring it to the Blackrock Clinic and its patients.