High Blood Pressure? Be Part of a New Study

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If you have high blood pressure and medicine isn't working, a new study being done nationwide- and at Geisinger Medical Center in Montour County- may be for you.

Geisinger Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Thomas Scott says it's actually the kidneys, not the heart, that are "the captains" of blood pressure.

"The kidney arteries are believed to play a huge role in people with difficult-to-treat blood pressure, because of some abnormal nerve impulse," said Dr. Scott.  "We believe that if we put a special catheter in there, it can deliver a small burst of energy that can disrupt that impulse and decrease blood pressure significantly."
Dr. Scott is spearheading a study that's the first of its kind in the United States.  Similar studies, he notes, had great results in Europe.  The trial is being funded by a private company.  Geisinger is one of 60 sites selected to take part nationwide, and officials are looking for people to participate.

It's designed for more than 1,000 patients, about half of whom will actually undergo the procedure.  They're looking for men and women, ages 18-80, who are on at least three medications and whose top blood pressure number is at least 160.  Participants won't be paid but all medical expenses will be.

Dr. Scott expects that the procedure will lower blood pressure to the point that medicine would no longer be needed, a benefit that could last for as long as two years after it's done.

"Hopefully down the road, if it proves to be as successful as we hope it is, it'll be widely available to all people in the United States," Dr. Scott said.

Patients who meet the criteria and want to find out more can call Geisinger directly, or have their doctors make the call.