There may be a new option for the one-in-three American adults who have high blood pressure. Millions take medications to treat high blood pressure, but some, like John Nicolo, have what's called non-responsive hypertension. As a result, he is among a small group undergoing an experimental surgical procedure to control high blood pressure.
The surgical implants called Rheos are placed on the carotid arteries in the neck. They deliver a low level electrical stimulation that signals the brain to lower the blood pressure. "By just attacking the blood pressure at its root, the brain, we can achieve much better result than you would if you were taking medication. Medication affects not only the sympathetic nervous system, it affects other organs," said Dr. Alexander Ackad, Hackensack University Medical Center.
"It feels like an electrical charger in your throat, and on both sides of your neck. And uh and it goes away instantly, and then after that you don't feel anything. You know I know that this thing is in here, in my chest. Sometimes when I stretch or pull my arm back, I can feel it, but other than that you don't even know it's there," said patient John Nicolo.
John Nicolo is one of the first to try the device which he had implanted in September. A few days later, he was back on his feet. Since then, he has been able to eliminate one o f this medications. Hackensack University and Columbia University Medical Centers are the only two centers so far enrolling patients in this clinical trial.
For more info on the Rheos clinical trial, click here.