Cardiologist Dr Pierre Qian sees many patients with high blood pressure on multiple medications. The condition is often difficult to control and some people have side effects from the medications.
Dr Qian is researching a new technology that may help patients achieve better blood pressure control without using as many medications.
The renal (kidney) artery is surrounded by highways of nerves that relay information between the kidneys and cardiovascular and nervous systems. These nerves are hyperactive in many people with difficult to control blood pressure and but they can be deactivated using heat.
His team based at Westmead Hospital has succeeded in building a prototype system that uses microwaves from within the renal artery to deactivate the renal nerves. It has been tested in the laboratory and is now being used in animal studies.
The results so far have been very encouraging and show that it is possible to deactivate the vast majority of the renal nerves without significant injury to the renal artery using this technology.
Dr Qian says that support from the Heart Foundation over the past year has allowed him to devote more time to this research and as a result, his team has made considerable progress on the road to translating their technology from bench to bedside.