- POSTED: 13 Oct 2013 23:08
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The Renal Denervation Procedure reduces patients' blood pressure and cardiovascular risk. It may also help to reduce patients' reliance on medications.
SINGAPORE: A new therapy to treat resistant hypertension, which is high blood pressure that doesn't respond to treatment, has shown encouraging results in patients.
Called the Renal Denervation Procedure, it reduces patients' blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.
It may also help to reduce patients' reliance on medications.
Studies have shown that the success rate of the procedure is 85 per cent and about one-third of patients are able to reduce the number of medications.
According to the National Health Survey 2010, about one in four adults in Singapore has high blood pressure.
Of all hypertension patients, 15 per cent of them are resistant to medications.
And, the number is set to rise in a fast ageing population.
Doctors say the new therapy is more effective than the current way of treating hypertension with medications.
Dr Ho Hee Hwa, a consultant at Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Department of Cardiology, said: "There are issues with medications because patients may develop side effects to medications. As patients take more and more medications, compliance becomes an issue. This can also be costly in the long term. For some patients, certain medications may not work as they should."
Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which introduced the new therapy in 2011, has treated 11 patients so far with the majority of them seeing encouraging results.
One of them is Mr Sarmani Abdullah who has been suffering from resistant hypertension since 2005.
He said: "If you see me today, this is not who I used to be. This is not the Sarmani you are watching today. If you had seen me last time, I was bigger that what I am today. After that, I lost weight and my blood pressure started to go down. I can say that today, I'm a brand new man."
His blood pressure has decreased drastically from 164/86 mmHg to 113/70 mmHg and has been under control since then.
He used to take four hypertension medications before going through the procedure. Now he only takes three.
The therapy involves inserting a catheter into the artery in the upper thigh and threading it into the renal artery.
The generator then delivers controlled, low-power radio frequency pulses to deactivate the surrounding renal nerves, and this helps to lower blood pressure.
The minimally-invasive procedure takes about an hour and doesn't need any permanent implant.
However, doctors say this procedure is not a cure for hypertension but it helps to achieve a better blood pressure control.
And having a good blood pressure control is important as it reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.