If you have high blood pressure, would you opt for a singular surgical cure, or would you prefer to remain on medication? Half of all Europeans have high blood pressure and 75 million Americans are hypertensive, but only 50 million seek medical mediation, and half of those who get help never get their blood pressure under control.

The one-time treatment works by silencing nerves leading into and out of the kidney, which play a central role in the sympathetic nervous system, the body’s “fight or flight” response that can increase heart rate and blood pressure.

Procedures that surgically disrupt these nerves had been shown to lower high blood pressure decades ago, but were abandoned with the advent of drugs that target the renin-angiotensin system, which regulates blood pressure and fluid retention.

Here’s how Ardian, the maker of the device, explains the surgical procedure:

The Symplicity Catheter System is used to perform a procedure termed renal denervation (RDN). In a straight-forward endovascular procedure, similar to an angioplasty, the physician inserts the small, flexible Symplicity Catheter into the femoral artery in the upper thigh and threads it into the renal artery. Once in place within the renal artery, the device delivers low-power RF energy to deactivate the surrounding renal sympathetic nerves. This, in turn, reduces hyper-activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which is often the cause of chronic hypertension. The one-time procedure aims to permanently reduce blood pressure. RDN may also allow patients to reduce or eliminate the need for lifelong antihypertensive medications.

In the USA we claim to believe in preventative medicine — but I know many people who forsake routine physician exams and only make an appointment with a doctor after the fact of falling ill.

I also know a lot of people who are on serious medications for a variety of illnesses — and yet they fail to routinely take their meds due to delinquency of spirit or just plain laziness of mindfulness.

Perhaps a permanent, surgical, cauterization is just the right antidote to the rising bodily cost of high blood pressure in a compressive world.  The surgery costs around $13,500.00USD, but footing the bill now for a quick “cure” has to be better than taking pills for decades and then dealing with any resulting damage done by the inattention to the careful monitoring and precise mediating of hypertension.

2 Comments