A new non-invasive treatment that uses ultrasound to reduce high blood pressure is being tested at a trust in east London as part of an international clinical trial.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London are working with clinicians at Barts Health Trust to deliver the treatment, which uses ultrasound energy to stop kidney nerves from signalling – believed to be the cause of resistant hypertension.
The trial, which is supported by the National Institute of Health Research, is part of a study of 160 patients with resistant high blood pressure – a condition believed to occur in 4% of adults in London.
“High blood pressure remains a serious public health issue, not just in the UK but globally, and new treatments are urgently needed”
The blinded and randomised study is being carried out at centres in London, Glasgow and Birmingham, as well as sites in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, New Zealand, and Australia.
The procedure, which uses Surround Sound technology developed by US company Kona Medical, takes place under deep sedation and lasts less than an hour.
Half the trial group will receive the ultrasound treatment from the outset while the others will be given a dummy treatment.
Neither group will be told which they have received but after one year, patients in the dummy group will then be offered the treatment.
Results from smaller studies have shown around 75% of patients have experienced substantial reductions in blood pressure up to two years after the treatment.
Dr Melvin Lobo who is leading the study at Queen Mary University and is also director of the Barts Blood Pressure Clinic, said: “High blood pressure remains a serious public health issue, not just in the UK but globally, and new treatments are urgently needed. Although drug treatment works well for most patients, a number of patients do not respond well and need alternative approaches.
He added: “The procedure we’re trialling is a hugely exciting and entirely unique concept. We believe this non-invasive ultrasound treatment is a promising new approach that deserves further study in controlled clinical trials.”