The Hadassah University Medical Center has acquired a new tool in the battle to control hypertension: a catheterization technique called “renal denervation.” Produced by Ardian Inc., a company owned by the global medical technology company, Medtronic, the technique is based on the research finding that overactive kidney nerves are a major contributor to the problem of high blood pressure. The new treatment blocks the over functioning nerves, leading to a reduction in hypertension. The procedure involves threading a catheter with an electrode on its tip into the renal artery and applying controlled amounts of electrical energy to kill the targeted nerves.

Prof. Chaim Lotan, head of Hadassah’s Heart Institute, reports that, at present, renal denervation is intended for patients whose blood pressure remains uncontrolled even after taking large amounts of medication. The treatment can reduce the required dosage of medication for some patients and completely eliminate the need for medication for others. “This is a revolutionary procedure that opens a window of opportunity for patients who have not responded well to medication,” Prof. Lotan explains. As with all medical procedures, he cautions, lifestyle changes must also be incorporated. The patient is still required to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes good nutrition and exercise.

“We are partners in the extraordinary revolution that relates to this frequent and fatal disease,” said Prof. Haim Danenberg, Director of Hadassah’s Interventional Cardiology Unit. “The treatment will entirely alter current treatments of hypertension, and I predict that in the future, catheterization will be a marked component in the treatment of hypertension.”