CHICAGO — Some people who couldn't get their blood pressure under control despite taking a fistful of pills every day found relief from an experimental treatment that shows promise as a permanent fix for the condition.
The treatment uses radio waves to zap nerves near the kidneys that fuel high blood pressure. It is done through a tube pushed into a blood vessel in the groin, much like the angioplasty procedures for opening clogged heart arteries.
In a study of about 100 people, the top number of the blood pressure reading fell an average of 33 points among those who had the treatment. Doctors say that is much better than the less-than-10-point drop that many drugs give.
"I am extremely interested in this," said Dr. Elliott Antman, a Brigham and Women's Hospital cardiologist who is vice chairman of the American Heart Association conference in Chicago, where study results were reported recently.
Even if the treatment doesn't cure someone and is only partly successful, that's still beneficial because these people are at grave risk of heart attacks, strokes and death, and drugs are not helping them enough now, he said.