American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report.
Only one in five patients seeking specialty care for hard-to-control high blood pressure (resistant hypertension) are taking all their prescribed medications, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.
“Another twenty percent are not taking any of their blood pressure medications,” said Peter Blankestijn, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and professor of nephrology and hypertension at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. “People mistakenly thought to have resistant hypertension — which is high blood pressure despite taking three or more medications — end up seeing specialists and undergoing extra tests because we don’t understand why they are so difficult to treat.”
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The surprising results come from a study designed primarily to determine if blood pressure can be lowered if people with resistant hypertension receive renal denervation, in addition to their blood pressure medication. In renal denervation, a slim tube (catheter) is inserted into one of the blood vessels in the groin and advanced through blood vessels until it enters the artery feeding the kidney; then, radio waves or ultrasound destroys sections of the nerves sending messages between the brain and the kidneys.
- 20 percent of patients were taking all their medication and 20 percent none of their medication,
- 31 percent of patients either improved or lessened their medication compliance.
- After six months, average daytime systolic blood pressure fell two points (mm Hg) more in control patients than in those who had renal denervation, but remained abnormally high in both groups.
- Among patients with similar blood levels of medication at each assessment, systolic blood pressure fell 3.3 points more in those who received the procedure than in controls.