Doctors at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) are the first in the South West to offer patients with high blood pressure the opportunity to control their condition with a new type of treatment.The research study is being undertaken at the Bristol Heart Institute and hopes to add to the body of research around a treatment called renal denervation. The team comprises doctors and researchers from the Bristol Heart Institute, Angus Nightingale and Andreas Baumbach; the University of Bristol, ProfessorJulian Paton and the Richard Bright Renal Unit, Professor Steven Harper.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition where the force that blood is exerting on the walls of the arteries of the body is higher than desirable. When left untreated this can significantly increase the patient’s risk of stroke, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
High blood pressure afflicts one billion people worldwide and its prevalence increases with age, obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Around 10- 20 per cent of patients with the condition are unable to reach their target blood pressure even though they have been prescribed drug treatments. For these patients renal denervation may help.
The procedure involves severing the nerves that connect the kidneys to the brain and carry signals to control blood pressure. A wire is passed into the patient’s blood vessels feeding the kidney and the tip of the wire is heated to burn the nerves running along the outside of the vessel. The tiny burns are done in a spiral pattern around the blood vessels until the connections are severed.