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Mar 31, 2014

No Benefit Seen in Renal Denervation for Patients with Resistant Hypertension

Despite results, researchers say study proves to be a huge step in learning about such medical devices.

Despite a rigorously conducted study (SIMPLICTY HTN-3) of patients with difficult to control blood pressure, the research failed to show a benefit of a procedure to inactivate nerves in the kidney in lowering blood pressure, according to findings presented at this year’s American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Scientific Session.

More than 77 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure (also called hypertension) and about 10% of these patients have high blood pressure that is particularly difficult to control on at least three medications, which is known as resistant hypertension. SIMPLICITY HTN-3 focused on this high-risk group of patients with resistant hypertension and investigated the role of inactivating kidney nerves through a catheter-based procedure, in hopes of lowering blood pressure.  The study enrolled 535 patients. Half of them received the therapy, and the other half underwent a sham procedure (a unique aspect of the trial) as a control group.  All patients remained on high doses of at least three blood-pressure lowering medications during the study.

The study failed to show a benefit of the renal denervation after 1 day and 6 months following the procedure, with blood pressure reduced in both arms of the study. The authors conclude that the study shows that close monitoring and careful medication titration remain the standard of care for patients with resistant hypertension. Future studies are needed to see if renal denervation is useful when combined with other approaches or for patients with heart failure.

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