A new answer for those who have hypertension

KUALA LUMPUR - Those with resistant hypertension on four or more types of medication to control high blood pressure can now opt for a simple surgical procedure to help control their condition.

Renal nerve ablation or denervation, recently introduced in Malaysia, involves destroying certain nerves around the kidney that can help regulate the body's blood pressure.

According to interventional cardiologist Dr Yap Yee Guan, this is done by activating radio frequency waves passed through a wire inserted into the renal (kidney) arteries via a small cut in the groin.

A 2010 multi-centre clinical trial showed that the destruction of the nerves decreased the blood pressure of patients by an average 32/12mmHg.

Dr Yap said usually, taking a new hypertension drug would not cause a decrease of more than 10mmHg.

About 84% of patients who underwent the ablation had over 10mmHg decrease in their blood pressure, compared with 34% of the control group, which continued normal drug treatment.

Follow-ups showed that the de-crease in blood pressure was still maintained two years after the procedure with one in five able to decrease their hypertension medications after the procedure.

"It is very safe," said Dr Yap.

The procedure is currently available at the National Heart Institute and Prince Court Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

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