Radio waves ‘can lower blood pressure’

Scientists have identified a way of treating high blood pressure by blasting the patient’s kidneys with radio waves.

The new minimally invasive procedure is called catheter-based renal denervation. It sees doctors burn away some of the nerve tissue which surrounds the kidney arteries.

Researchers found that the method helped treat resistant hypertension in patients whose blood pressure could not be lowered using regular drugs.

A patient is defined as suffering from hypertension when they have a blood pressure reading which is higher than 140 over 90 millimetres of mercury.

The condition is known to be a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Researchers hope that their findings will have significant implications for the treatment of high blood pressure.

Professor Murray Esler, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, led the research team.

Prof Esler said further research would soon identify whether the procedure could cure mild hypertension and permanently normalise blood pressure without the use of drugs.

He added: “Based on blood pressure declines achieved, reduction in heart attack and stroke rates of more than 40% is anticipated.”