Guest Column

New technology for high blood pressure treatment


Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure, is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, stroke and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the most common condition in Florida, affecting nearly half of adults aged 45 to 79. Unfortunately, many patients treated for high blood pressure remain above the normal range despite lifestyle changes and various medications.

That’s why my team at Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside is excited to offer a new FDA-approved technology to treat people with medication-resistant high blood pressure. We are the first hospital in Jacksonville to perform this minimally invasive procedure that we believe can help many patients.

About High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) happens when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, but because there aren’t always physical symptoms, many don’t even know they have it.

It’s important to properly manage high blood pressure to prevent health threats like heart attack and stroke. Recognizing the limitations of medication to treat the condition, the FDA has approved a groundbreaking new treatment approach known as ultrasound renal denervation. The brand-new procedure offers hope for improved outcomes in hypertensive patients.

Ultrasound Renal Denervation Offers a New Therapy Option

Many people with high blood pressure have overactive nerves leading to their kidneys, which can cause blood pressure to increase. Renal (kidney) denervation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses ultrasound energy to calm these overactive nerves between the heart and kidneys and help lower blood pressure.

The technology my team is using at St. Vincent’s Riverside also incorporates a unique cooling ablation system during the procedure to protect the arteries. The ultimate goal of the one-time procedure is to reduce or eliminate the need for hypertension medication. It provides 24-hour blood pressure control and is a promising option for patients suffering from the side effects of multiple medications each day.

What to Expect

This low-risk treatment usually happens in an outpatient setting and only takes around 30 minutes to perform. During treatment, a small tube is guided through the leg into the blood vessels near the kidneys, and ultrasound energy is applied for seven seconds, repeated 2-3 times on each side. Afterward, the tube is removed, leaving nothing behind.

After the procedure, some people go home the same day, while others stay overnight. Most can resume normal activities within a few days. Fast recovery allows for an easy return to regular life.

Take Control of Your High Blood Pressure

When not controlled, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and dementia. With treatment and management, you can lower your blood pressure to help you live a longer and healthier life.

This year, patients with high blood pressure can receive even more personalized and streamlined care when St. Vincent’s Riverside opens a specialized hypertension clinic. If you or a loved one need high blood pressure care, don’t wait — schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Samer Garas is a cardiologist and medical director of the cardiovascular service line at Ascension St. Vincent’s. For more information on Dr. Garas and his specialty of interventional cardiology, visit or call 904-388-1820.

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