Implanted Device Naturally Lowers Blood Pressure

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Rheos Baroreflex Blood Pressure Therapy System

Researchers at Columbia University have developed an implantable device to naturally lower blood pressure. The blood pressure controlling device is approved by the FDA, and can be surgically implanted under the skin with minimal scarring.

The Rheos Baroreflex Hypertension Therapy System is being tested on 300 patients. The study is led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. According to Dr. Daichi Shimbo, assistant professor in the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University Medical Center and the medical principal investigator for the multi-center trial, "One-third of the world's population is hypertensive, and only one-third of those people can only control their hypertension with the help of drugs.”

The blood pressure therapy system works to stimulate receptors in the body, known as baroreceptors. Baroreceptors send signals to the brain that control blood pressure. The Rheos Baroreflex Hypertension Therapy System is either implanted in the right or left side of the neck next to the carotid artery. Leads attached to the system conduct energy to the carotid artery baroreceptors, activating them, telling the brain to slow the heart rate and relax, or dilate the blood vessels. The result is lower blood pressure, and decreased workload of the heart.

The long-term effect of the Rheos device is a healthier heart muscle, which suffers by becoming enlarged when blood pressure readings persistently remain elevated. The implanted device essentially tells the body to naturally lower blood pressure, by making use of normal cellular pathways.


"For patients who have been unsuccessful at lowering extremely high blood pressures with the current pharmacological therapies, this device may be an invaluable option,” says Thomas Pickering, M.D., director of the CUMC Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, and the national principal investigator of the trial.

Dr. Shimbo believes the device should make an impact on longevity in patients who do not respond to blood pressure lowering medication. One patient from New Jersey, Tom Pareso, had the blood pressure device implanted during the first round of studies. Pareso, whose family has a history of high blood pressure, had no success with controlling his hypertension with multiple drugs. The device was implanted September 19, 2008. Two weeks after surgery, Pareso’s blood pressure reading were lower, and he reported feeling “fine” during his check-up.

Lowering blood pressure naturally, through with the help of the Rheos implantable device, is new option worth exploring for patients with severe, medication resistant high blood pressure.

If you are interested in participating in the ongoing studies, please visit: or call 1(888) 8BP-RISK.


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