By: Erin Moore for Heart1
Juerg Schmidli, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Berne, and Chief of Vascular Surgery at University Hospital Berne, Berne, Switzerland spoke with Heart1 at the annual VEITHsymposium™ in New York last month. Dr. Schmidli has been involved in some exciting research on The Rheos® System, in which the baroreflex is activated and the body is prompted to lower blood pressure by decreasing sympatetic nervous system activity. An electrical device is placed below the collarbone (just like a pacemaker) and the electrodes are located around the carotid arteries, and remain there permanently.
This 'surgical' treatment is used for patients with drug-resistant primary hypertension. To be eligible, you must have a blood pressure reading of 160/90 or greater, despite taking at least three anti-hypertensive drugs, one being a diuretic. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80.
Just approved in Europe, the system decreased blood pressure by 20 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) more than hoped. Readings were an average of 32 mmHg less after treatment (study expectations were a decrease of 10 mmHg). If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about both surgical and non-surgical options. The Rheos® System will likely become available in the United States in the near future.