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New technique promises to curb high blood pressure

health and fitness Updated: Oct 27, 2013 00:10 IST
Sidhartha Dutta
Sidhartha Dutta
Hindustan Times
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People with very high blood pressure that cannot be controlled even with a combination of medicines can now opt for renal de-nervation (RDN).

The new technique, which got government approval less than a month ago, will be done at 11 centres across India.

Shakuntala Sharma, 52, was among the first in India to undergo RDN at the Metro Heart Institute. “She was an ideal choice because she had been suffering from high blood pressure for more than 10 years. Despite taking multiple prescribed medicines, her systolic reading remained in the range of 180 and 210,” said Dr Purshottam Lal, chairman, Metro Group of Hospitals.

As part of this treatment, a special catheter is inserted in the renal arteries (the arteries which carry blood to the kidneys) through the groin. The catheter is connected to a generator outside the body and radio-frequency energy is passed (ablation) from the tip of the catheter to the wall of the blood vessel to disrupt the nerve impulses.

“A total of 4-6 ablations are given to each renal artery (left & right); treatment to both renal arteries is done in the same sitting whereby a total of 8 to 12 different sites within the arterial wall are targeted,” said Dr Lal.

The procedure, which takes about 30-45 minutes, is carried out on patients who are suffering from severe hypertension. “The complications that people develop due to hypertension are stroke, retinal problem in the eye causing blindness, damage to the kidney and weakness of legs. This treatment is new and it is quite effective even if there are complications,” said Dr Lal.

“Though the cost has not been finalised yet, the estimated cost of the procedure should be less than a lakh,” he added.According to the World Health Organisation, the prevalence of hypertension in India is 23.1 % in men and 22.6% in women of 25 years of age or older. Also, one fourth of the total number of adults in India have high blood pressure.