New trial for high blood pressure patients

( —  When it comes to blood pressure, 56-year-old Delphine McMillion’s numbers are off the charts.

Delphine McMillion: “I had more than one heart attack on account of my high blood pressure.”

After multiple heart attacks and a stroke in 2004, she was taking 30 pills a day. Still, the needle didn’t budge. For patients like Delphine, medications simply don’t work.

Dr. George Bakris, Hypertension Expert, University of Chicago Medicine: “This subset is really in dire need of this because there’s really nothing else for them.”

But Dr. George Bakris isn’t giving up. He’s hoping a procedure he’s testing at the University of Chicago will yield a new option — a treatment that targets the kidneys.

Dr. Bakris: “The kidney is really the key organ that is sending signals out to the brain, to the heart because it’s the volume organ. It’s the organ that handles volume. So if it’s not getting enough fluid and it’s complaining, it gives the heart instructions and signals to do stuff.”

Signals that tell the body to produce more adrenaline. That surge in adrenaline prompts the heart to constrict its vessels, ramping up pressure. It’s a cascade of events that begins just outside the kidney in the renal artery.

Dr. Sandeep Nathan, interventional cardiologist, University of Chicago Medicine: “The nerves that regulate the flow of adrenalin largely originate from the kidneys.”


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