Standard kidney drug treatment works better than new surgical procedure

Standard drug treatment of certain hypertension cases seems to be better than a new, much touted surgical procedure, according to a clinical trial recently completed at Oslo University Hospital. Credit: Oslo University Hospital

A simple surgical procedure on the kidneys touted as a revolutionary treatment for high blood pressure turns out to be not so revolutionary after all. In a first its kind, a Norwegian clinical trial shows that established, standard drug treatment works better than the new surgical procedure, reports ScienceNordic. 

Some patients with are resistant to commonly used hypertension medication. New hope was raised for these patients a few years ago with the introduction of a simple called renal sympathetic denervation (RDN).

As recently as 2012, the method was referred to as a possible revolution in hypertension treatment. Tens of thousands of patients have already undergone the procedure in some European countries, especially in Germany.

But Chief Physician Aud Høieggen of Oslo University Hospital thinks the scientific basis for the RDN-method is weak. In a study published this week in the prestigious medical journal Hypertension, Aud Høieggen and her researcher colleagues show that the new surgical procedure in fact is less effective than established methods.

Høieggen is eager to compare the results from the Oslo study with those of a forthcoming American study, due later this March.

More information: M. Fadl Elmula, et al: "Adjusted Drug Treatment Is Superior to Renal Sympathetic Denervation in Patients With True Treatment-Resistant Hypertension." Hypertension, published online 3. March 2014. Online ISSN: 1524-4563

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