Hypertension is one of the most common chronic conditions that can lead to several other health problems in the presence of contributing factors like genetics, obesity or high cholesterol levels. According to data from Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) some 67 million has high blood pressure and about 36 million don’t have it under control.
The research team, led by Dr. Dennis Plachta of the University of Freiburg in Germany, recently developed device that, when implanted in rats, lowers their blood pressure by sending electrical signals to the brain.
According to a study the surgically implanted device reduced blood pressure in the animals by 40 percent and did not cause any major side effects. The device, which the researchers call the “multichannel cuff electrode” (MCE), is made up of 24 separate electrodes that are incorporated into a cuff designed to wrap around the vagal nerve, which extends from the brainstem to the thorax and abdomen. The nerve stimulates major blood vessels, the heart and other organs. The device affects only vagal nerve fibers that influence blood pressure that is way did not affect heart or breathing rate. The device works by using signals from baroreceptors that are activated when the blood vessels stretch.
“As the device will require surgery, it is not intended to be the first port of call for treatment and will come into play when patients, for whatever reasons, are resistant to medication,” said Dr. Plachta.
The creation of this device could offer hope for millions of patients who do not respond to existing treatment for high blood pressure.