Most scientists and spectators probably accept by now that the procedure that has been labelled Renal Denervation, is associated with, and therefore causes, rapid and sustained reduction in blood pressure. By zapping the nerves that lie around the renal arteries it has been theorised that our sympathetic nervous system is undergoing some sort of re-boot or at very least re-set. The consequences are thought to be widespread and potentially connected. For example, a reduction in the sympathetic “drive” is thought to impact the heart directly, reducing pulse rate and heart muscle tone with consequent reduction in blood pressure. In a nutshell, lots of sympathetic nervous system-related things are going on, and they all seem to start with the heart and vasculature.
Other applications for the technology have been postulated for a while, and now an article in eCardiology news has referenced a body of work that suggests blood pressure reduction may be the tip of the iceberg.
In the article, which can be found here, it seems renal denervation is associated with a potential improvement in glucose status in diabetes sufferers. Quote how it works is a matter of speculation or at least conjecture, but the researchers are again using the “reset button” argument to explain that a reduction in the “sympathetic drive” we’ve already talked about, also correlated with an increase in glucose tolerance. Fasting glucose levels dropped and plasma insulin levels increased, raising the prospect that (whisper it) renal denervation might just be a diabetes treatment.
And then, to cap it all, it appears the therapy might also have another home as it seems it reduces incidence and severity of sleep apnea. Again the mechanism is speculative, but seems likely to stem from this reduction in sympathetic drive and consequently vascular tone. That in turn reduces the “congestion” at the root of sleep apnea.
It’s all tiny studies at this stage, but the researchers are sounding excitable. Maybe “they would do, wouldn’t they” as they have a renal denervation technology of their own in the pipeline. But the fact that they quote 145 published papers and 1700 patents filed probably tells its own story.
They’re calling it a “tsunami of excitement”, and they might well have a point.
Source: eCardiology News