Baptist offers new high blood pressure treatment

The Baptist Cardiac and Vascular Institute in Miami is taking part in a clinical trial to treat high blood pressure that up till now has been uncontrollable.

The institute, located at Baptist Hospital, is among the first in the United States to offer an experimental treatment for high blood pressure that up till now has been uncontrollable.

In the clinical trial, called SYMPLICITY HTN-3. Doctors use a low-energy radio frequency to zap a bundle of nerves located around the kidney arteries, which are known to help control blood pressure.

“This is a major advancement, particularly because the results are so promising in Europe,” said Dr. Alex Powell, medical director of Interventional Radiology at the Institute, who is one of the principal investigators for the trial. The co-principal investigator is nephrologist Dr. David Hoffman.

Initial studies performed in Europe show the new technology lowers blood pressure in a significant number of patients – many down to normal levels. Patients, both international and within the United States, diagnosed with hypertension and resistant to multiple blood pressure medications are eligible to participate in this new investigative study at Baptist Health.

In the initial studies, 84 per cent of patients with a baseline systolic blood pressure of 160 mm Hg or higher, even while taking anti-hypertensive medication, showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg or more. In those studies, 39 per cent saw their blood pressure drop to normal levels.

The upper number in a normal blood pressure reading is 115-120 mm Hg. The results of better blood pressure control are a lower risk of heart attack and stroke, lower healthcare costs, and no side effects from medication.

The clinical trial in the US involves more than 500 patients at up to 90 hospitals.