Researchers say patients with a certain type of high blood pressure don’t need surgery.

Researchers have found that patients with a particular form of hypertension do not have to undergo surgery to unclog a blocked artery.

Hypertension is currently the most common chronic medical condition in the United States. People with hypertension are at a high risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure and kidney failure. Having said that, those whose hypertension is caused by a blocked renal artery – the artery that feeds the kidneys, are at even higher risk. Their blood pressure is also very hard to control.

In 2004 researchers from the University of Toledo Medical Center received a $25 million grant from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to design, lead, and coordinate a global study to discover what the best treatment is for this group of hypertensives. The results were released at the recent American Heart Association’s national scientific meeting in Dallas.

Dr. Christopher Cooper, chairman of the department of medicine at the former Medical College of Ohio, coordinated the grant and the research with more than 100 medical centers across the U.S., and in Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. They screened more than 5,000 patients with this specific condition in order to find the 947 who became participants in the study. One group was treated with medication, while the second received medication as well as surgery to insert a stent to clear the blocked artery.

About half of the participants were women, and the researchers tried to actively recruit African-Americans. “The African-American community is disproportionately affected by kidney disease and high-blood pressure, and so we worked pretty hard to get a representative sample. We ended up with seven percent of the patients in the study who were African-American,” Dr. Cooper said.

According to Dr. Cooper, they found that after following patients for nearly four years on average “there was no real difference in the outcome with or without the stent. The bottom line is if we treat people with good medicines they do as well as if they had a stent.” He continued that while it was a “huge effort and took a lot of dedication mostly on the part of our patients,” and has been a long-term investment, “to see it come to a really solid conclusion is very gratifying.”

Dr. Cooper said that the most important outcome of the research is that the results were the same for everybody. The results will therefore save patients time and money and protect them from the risks associated with surgery.

People with hypertension can also opt for non-invasive and natural treatments such as RESPeRATE ― the first all-natural medical device clinically proven to lower blood pressure.

 

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