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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2012 Mar;43(3):293-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2011.11.022. Epub 2012 Jan 9.

Catheter-based radiofrequency renal-nerve ablation in patients with resistant hypertension.

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Faculté de Médecine, Université Paris-Descartes, Paris, France.


This review aims to describe the role and the results of catheter-based renal nerve ablation for the treatment of resistant hypertension. Despite the availability of multiple classes of orally active antihypertensive treatments, resistant hypertension remains an important public health issue in 2012 due to its prevalence and association with target-organ damage and poor prognosis. The failure of purely pharmacological approaches to treat resistant hypertension has stimulated interest in invasive device-based treatments based on old concepts. In the absence of orally active antihypertensive agents, patients with severe and complicated hypertension were widely treated by surgical denervation of the kidney until the 1960s, but this approach was associated with a high incidence of severe adverse events and a high mortality rate. A new catheter system using radiofrequency energy has been developed, allowing an endovascular approach to renal denervation and providing patients with resistant hypertension with a new therapeutic option that is less invasive than surgery and can be performed rapidly under local anaesthesia. To date, this technique has been evaluated only in open-label trials including small numbers of highly selected resistant hypertensive patients with suitable renal artery anatomy. The available evidence suggests a favourable blood pressure-lowering effect in the short term (6 months) and a low incidence of immediate local and endovascular complications. This follow-up period is, however, too short for the detection of rare or late-onset adverse events. For the time being, the benefit/risk ratio of this technique remains to be evaluated, precluding its uncontrolled and widespread use in routine practice.

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