New Device Lowers Blood Pressure, Improves Heart Function

Patients with high blood pressure may have a new way to improve their health beyond bypassing the salt shaker and taking blood pressure medications. A national clinical trial is finding that the Minneapolis-based CVRx® Rheos ® System is effective in treating early-stage heart failure.

As part of the multicenter, phase III trial, 18 patients in the United States and Europe had the device implanted. The patients had early-stage heart failure and high blood pressure and were on personalized medication levels deemed to be the best for each patient.

After one year of Rheos therapy, left ventricular mass and left atrial dimension were reduced toward normal levels. In addition, the patients’ blood pressure levels were lower.

The system works with a pressure sensor that activates the carotid artery baroreceptors. When these natural receptors are activated, they send signals through neural pathways to the brain that interpret a rise in blood pressure. The brain works to lower this rise in pressure by sending signals to the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys to relax the blood vessels. The brain also restricts production of stress-related hormones. Thus, the heart can increase blood output while continuing with its workload.

The Rheos system has a small pulse generator, implanted under the collar bone; two thin lead wires implanted in the left and right carotid arteries, which are connected to the pulse generator; and an external device used by physicians to noninvasively regulate the activation energy level from the generator to the lead wires.