New Device May Replace Blood Pressure Medication

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Physicians at The Ohio State University Medical Center are leading a new clinical trial to treat hypertension by implanting a medical device that stimulates the body's own natural system to lower blood pressure.

The trial will test a new treatment for patients who can no longer control their high blood pressure with medications and lifestyle modifications. If successful, the implant could be another important tool for helping people treat their hypertension, according to Dr. Randy Wexler, co-investigator of the study.

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"This particular device sends signals to the brain when there is a rise in blood pressure. In turn, the brain reacts by relaying signals to other body systems to decrease blood pressure," said Wexler, a family medicine physician at OSU Medical Center.

Similar to a heart pacemaker, the device is slightly larger than a deck of cards and is surgically implanted under the skin near the collarbone. The device triggers the body's own blood pressure monitoring system, baroreceptors located in the walls of large arteries. In the trial, the device will be used in addition to existing therapies.

Dr. Jean Starr, director of endovascular services at OSU Medical Center and co-investigator of the study, said the device is a unique way of allowing the body to control its blood pressure naturally.

"Because poorly controlled blood pressure leads to serious complications including heart attack, kidney failure and stroke, we need another option for patients who are resistant to anti-hypertension medications."

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