Hypertension, an ailment that affects millions globally, is being approached with a renewed focus thanks to the latest guidelines from the European Society of Hypertension. These guidelines have introduced renal denervation, a promising technique, as one of the primary treatments for resistant hypertension. This addition joins previous recommendations that emphasize healthy habits and medication as primary methods of treatment.
Renal denervation isn’t exactly new. While it’s been on the medical radar for over a decade, its potential has only been fully recognized recently. How does it work? Essentially, this therapy involves reducing the adverse effect of certain nerves, known as sympathetic nerves, which play a role in the onset of hypertension. The technique involves an endovascular intervention: a catheter is introduced through the patient’s groin until it reaches the renal arteries. By emitting heat using electromagnetic waves, this catheter nullifies a crucial nervous network in the artery, thereby lowering blood pressure.
Dr. José Antonio García Donaire, a leading specialist in the field of hypertension and president of the Spanish Society of Hypertension and Vascular Risk, has been an advocate of this technique. According to him, over the years, the medical community has learned more about who the ideal candidates for renal denervation are and how those hypertensive patients treated with this technique have progressed.
But what exactly does it mean to have resistant hypertension? It’s diagnosed when, despite a patient following all recommendations for a healthy lifestyle and being on medication with at least three different drugs, they still don’t achieve the desired blood pressure levels. Before the advent of renal denervation, treatment options were limited and often involved a lifestyle change or an increase in medication, with the consequent side effects.
Hypertension is a silent and dangerous foe. Over 1.2 billion people worldwide are grappling with it, and what’s even more alarming is that many are unaware of their condition. And among those diagnosed, a significant proportion does not adequately respond to traditional treatments.
With the recent inclusion of renal denervation in clinical guidelines, there’s now a glimmer of hope for many. And, according to Dr. García Donaire, this is just the beginning. On the horizon, he sees a future where hypertension treatment will be more personalized and advanced, addressing not just symptoms but also underlying causes, from genetic analysis to studying the patient’s lifestyle, to offer more effective and lasting solutions.
Article based on the one published by the newspaper El Español The technique that has become the new key for hypertension treatment and the one published by the WHO Hypertension