Recent study may have answer to reducing medications for high blood pressure

Posted at 7:33 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 20:43:06-05

(WXYZ) — One in three Americans has high blood pressure. It's a silent killer if it goes untreated.

Some patients have to take five medications without relief. But now, a groundbreaking study is underway at Ascension Providence to determine if a treatment they are researching will reduce the number of medications a person must take to keep this killer under control.

In face, if you take a snap shot of any American family, the picture is not pretty when it comes to high blood pressure. One in three Americans has it.

Seven Action News' Carolyn Clifford asked Erroll King, who is 55 years old, if he has high blood pressure and he told me after recently seeing his doctor, he learned his blood pressure was high.

Hypertension is defined as blood pressure above 130/80, and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.

Another man donated his kidney to a childhood friend who had high blood pressure. He said his friend, like a lot of people, had no insurance in his 20s and 30s and had no idea that he had high blood pressure and it was damaging his kidneys. According to the American Heart Association, 103 million Americans have high blood pressure.

Chief of Cardiology at Ascension Providence, Dr. Shukri David, is leading a ground breaking study that could one day reduce the number of medications a person with high blood pressure has to take from five to maybe just one or two, or possibly none at all.

In February, Dr. David and his team did a blind clinical study with two patients and neither one knows whether they got the treatment.

They insert this catheter into the renal artery and anchors pop up with tiny needles that look like miniature fangs. The needles inject alcohol to kill off the nerves that lead to the kidney. Dr. David says it gets rid of the innervation around the kidney that sends signals to the brain to raise the blood pressure. This treatment has been studied in both South America and Europe but this is the first time it's being researched here in the United States.

Dr. David says the preliminary results are very encouraging and he thinks this offers hope to patients who don't want to take medication or have side effects from these medications.