Now, 'paper-clip' implant to treat high blood pressure

Blood PressureROX coupler, can help in treatment-resistant hypertension, or resistant high blood pressure. (Reuters)

A novel 'paper-clip' implant that can tackle resistant high blood pressure has been developed.

The implant, called the ROX coupler, can help in treatment-resistant hypertension, or resistant high blood pressure, a condition in which blood pressure remains high despite treatment with antihypertensive medications.

The ROX coupler is a small metal stent made of nitinol which when deployed, acts like a 'paper-clip' joining an artery and a vein together in the groin area.

This allows blood to flow between the high pressure artery and the low pressure vein. The Coupler is inserted and put in place via key-hole procedure at the groin under local anaesthesia.

Doctors at Glenfield Hospital, on the outskirts of Leicester, UK, used the device successfully on a 56-year-old male patient during an operation on September 16.

"We carried out this procedure on our first patient, a 56 year old male, here at Glenfield Hospital, which went extremely well," said Professor Andre Ng, Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology at the University of Leicester and Consultant Cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital.

"After the initial preparation, it took me and my team just over an hour to put the implant in place. Almost immediately the patient's blood pressure went down to more acceptable levels which we anticipate to further improve with time," Andre said.

Andre termed results from the pilot study on the ROX coupler as "promising".

"Results from the pilot study already done on this new technology look promising. There is a very early response with a reduction in blood pressure in resistant hypertensive patients which appears to be maintained in medium term at least," he said.

"The procedure is remarkable. I know it is still early days but I have already seen a significant reduction in my blood pressure points. I am amazed!" said the male patient from Leicester.

"Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to many other medical conditions with dire consequences. Patients with resistant hypertension have blood pressure way above normally accepted levels despite multiple medications in combination," Andre said.

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