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Renal Denervation

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 4:05 pm | Updated: 4:41 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

There are one billion people in the world who have uncontrolled high blood pressure. It's a problem that medication can't solve for many.

Now, for the first time, there's a procedure that's zapping away this common condition.

Carl Youngberg has many titles, including one he'd like to drop, high blood pressure patient. He's lived with the condition since he was nine years old.

Medications have failed to control it, so Carl enrolled in a clinical trial to test Renal Denervation.

"This is the first change in 100 years in the treatment of high blood pressure," says David Brown, MD, Co-Director of Cardiovascular Research, the Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.

The idea is to target overactive renal nerves that can cause blood pressure to soar. The nerves transmit information from the kidneys to the brain. Doctors insert a needle into an artery in the groin near the kidneys and burn the nerves. The result…burning away high blood pressure

"We take off some of that overdrive, and people feel better, and their blood pressure drops, on average, 30 points," says Cara East, MD, Cardiologist/Endocrinologist, Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital.

So far it seems to be most effective for people with resistant high blood pressure, like Carl. Because he's in a double-blind trial, Carl doesn't know if he received the therapy, but he's hopeful. "I'd like to find normal to be honest with you, that would, a new normal for me would be wonderful."

At its highest, Carl's blood pressure was 203 over 84. The last time he checked, it was 160 over 74. Renal denervation is already approved in Canada, Australia, and Europe. Doctors believe it could be FDA approved in two to three years. Risks are extremely rare, but include infections and blood clots.

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