Feasibility of catheter-based renal nerve ablation and effects on sympathetic nerve activity and blood pressure in patients with end-stage renal disease

Markus P. Schlaich, Bradley Bart, Dagmara Hering, Anthony Walton, Petra Marusic, Felix Mahfoud, Michael Böhm, Elisabeth A. Lambert, Henry Krum, Paul A. Sobotka, Roland E. Schmieder, Carolina Ika-Sari, Nina Eikelis, Nora Straznicky, Gavin W. Lambert, Murray D. Esler

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Background and objectives Sympathetic activation is a hallmark of ESRD and adversely affects cardiovascular prognosis. Efferent sympathetic outflow and afferent neural signalling from the failing native kidneys are key mediators and can be targeted by renal denervation (RDN). Whether this is feasible and effective in ESRD is not known. Design, setting, participants and measurements In an initial safety and proof-of-concept study we attempted to perform RDN in 12 patients with ESRD and uncontrolled blood pressure (BP). Standardized BP measurements were obtained in all patients on dialysis free days at baseline and follow up. Measures of renal noradrenaline spillover and muscle sympathetic nerve activity were available from 5 patients at baseline and from 2 patients at 12 month follow up and beyond. Results Average office BP was 170.8 ± 16.9/89.2 ± 12.1 mm Hg despite the use of 3.8 ± 1.4 antihypertensive drugs. All 5 patients in whom muscle sympathetic nerve activity and noradrenaline spillover was assessed at baseline displayed substantially elevated levels. Three out of 12 patients could not undergo RDN due to atrophic renal arteries. Compared to baseline, office systolic BP was significantly reduced at 3, 6, and 12 months after RDN (from 166 ± 16.0 to 148 ± 11, 150 ± 14, and138 ± 17 mm Hg, respectively), whereas no change was evident in the 3 non-treated patients. Sympathetic nerve activity was substantially reduced in 2 patients who underwent repeat assessment. Conclusions RDN is feasible in patients with ESRD and associated with a sustained reduction in systolic office BP. Atrophic renal arteries may pose a problem for application of this technology in some patients with ESRD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2214-2220
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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