Renal denervation and hypertension

Markus P. Schlaich, Henry Krum, Paul A. Sobotka, Murray D. Esler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Essential hypertension remains one of the biggest challenges in medicine with an enormous impact on both individual and society levels. With the exception of relatively rare monogenetic forms of hypertension, there is now general agreement that the condition is multifactorial in nature and hence requires therapeutic approaches targeting several aspects of the underlying pathophysiology. Accordingly, all major guidelines promote a combination of lifestyle interventions and combination pharmacotherapy to reach target blood pressure (BP) levels in order to reduce overall cardiovascular risk in affected patients. Although this approach works for many, it fails in a considerable number of patients for various reasons including drug-intolerance, noncompliance, physician inertia, and others, leaving them at unacceptably high cardiovascular risk. The quest for additional therapeutic approaches to safely and effectively manage hypertension continues and expands to the reappraisal of older concepts such as renal denervation. Based on the robust preclinical and clinical data surrounding the role of renal sympathetic nerves in various aspects of BP control very recent efforts have led to the development of a novel catheter-based approach using radiofrequency (RF) energy to selectively target and disrupt the renal nerves. The available evidence from the limited number of uncontrolled hypertensive patients in whom renal denervation has been performed are auspicious and indicate that the procedure has a favorable safety profile and is associated with a substantial and presumably sustained BP reduction. Although promising, a myriad of questions are far from being conclusively answered and require our concerted research efforts to explore the full potential and possible risks of this approach. Here we briefly review the science surrounding renal denervation, summarize the current data on safety and efficacy of renal nerve ablation, and discuss some of the open questions that need to be addressed in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-642
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

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