Treating Arterial Hypertension (Renal Denervation [RDN])
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a common health problem in Western societies. This is mainly due to our modern-day lifestyle and its accompanying habits, which include smoking, poor nutrition, obesity, lack of exercise, stress and excessive alcohol consumption. High blood pressure is usually treated by limiting related factors such as smoking and salt consumption, and also taking certain medications. For about 5 to 10 percent of patients, this method is not enough, in which case we say that the patient has resistant hypertension. A new method, called renal denervation, or RDN, has now begun to be used with great success for such patients and is usually performed by an interventional cardiologist.
This method is based on the fact that in patients with high blood pressure, particularly those patients who are taking a lot of medication and are unable to regulate their blood pressure, the sympathetic nervous system (a special nervous system in the body) is very active. The RDN method involves disabling this system’s nerve fibres with the aid of a special catheter and an electrical current applied to the renal artery walls through which these sympathetic nerve fibres pass.
RDN is carried out with the aid of X-rays, at the haemodynamic lab where coronary angiographies and angioplasty are usually performed. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic by inserting a catheter through the groin and feeding it into the renal arteries, where a low-frequency electrical current (up to 8 Watts) is applied, causing localized ‘burns’ on the renal artery walls. The RDN method helps to significantly reduce blood pressure and has to date been used in more than 5000 cases of patients with resistant hypertension in Europe. The method’s results become progressively visible within 1 to 12 months of the procedure. This is an exceptionally safe and painless method which is easy to perform and only requires a one-day hospital stay. Our team has been performing this procedure successfully since July 2012 with very satisfactory results to date.