by Ross Walker

In my last article, I detailed the non-drug methods of treating high blood pressure. Let me make the point that the best and most proven way to treat high blood pressure is to be on one or a combination of medications, once the diagnosis is established and this treatment is for the rest of your life, not for a short course until the blood pressure gets back to normal. The problem here is, as soon as you stop the medications, the blood pressure goes back to where it was in the first place. Therefore, it is vital to realise that management of high blood pressure is lifelong and vitally important to prevent all of the major complications of high blood pressure that I detailed in my last Article.

Over the past few years, however, there has been a new technique that does not appear to be a temporary solution for people with difficult to control blood pressure. This involves a catheter being inserted into the femoral artery in the groin under local anaesthetic.  The catheter is manoeuvred to the kidney arteries where a group of nerves known as the “sympathetic chain” are ablated using a technique known as “radiofrequency ablation”.  The sympathetic nerves are very important in generating high blood pressure and ablating them negates their effect. This has a significant effect on dropping blood pressure.

There has been up to a sustained 30mm drop in blood pressure in the large group of people who have been studied. [If you are interested in finding more about this technique, send an email to: info@switzer.com.au]

Just recently, another technique has been studied in experimental animals to treat high blood pressure. This involves removing two small bodies known as the carotid bodies from the arteries in the neck which also regulate blood pressure. This has been very successful in dropping the blood pressure in the rats studied and the researchers are now moving onto a small human trial. This is certainly not prime time but at some stage may become another alternative for the management of high blood pressure.