What is it?

Although renal denervation is subject to ongoing research, this technique has already found its place among treatments for high blood pressure in situations where (at least three types of) medication has no or inadequate effect. For renal denervation, the impulses of nerves to and from the kidneys are interrupted. For this form of treatment, no underlying conditions that could cause high blood pressure may be present.

What is the process?

Preparation

You are admitted to the Cardiology Department. You will have to have fasted as the procedure is performed under general anaesthetic. That means at least two hours for clear fluids (only water, tea and coffee), at least six hours for a light meal and dairy products and at least eight hours for a regular meal. Medication may be taken as agreed with the physician.

You will be given a gown to wear. If no recent laboratory results are available, blood samples may be collected. The nurse will place an IV line in your arm to administer medication later.

The procedure is performed in the cardiac catheterisation room.

The procedure

You take place on the examination table. Adhesive electrodes are placed to monitor your heart rhythm. The anaesthetist takes care of the anaesthesia. You will be fully asleep during the procedure. You will be covered with a sterile sheet with a few cut-outs around the groin to allow for access to the veins.

A puncture is made in the artery (usually in the right groin area). The blood vessels of the kidney are visualised and selectively approached one by one to deliver the ablation probe. After ablation is completed, checks are performed.

You will wake up in the recovery room. The procedure takes approximately one hour.

Aftercare

The day after the procedure, the groin area is checked for bleeding. If everything is fine you may go home.

What are the risks?

Local bruising in the groin area is possible but does not generally require much looking after. Reduction of kidney function rarely results. At this point in time, any long-term (years) risks are unknown.

Results

The objective of renal denervation is to achieve a reduction of blood pressure of 20 mmHg. This reduction may take some time to achieve (up to six months after the treatment). After the procedure, appointments will be made for outpatient check-ups.

Centres and specialist areas

Cardiology

Latest publication date: 05/02/2021
Supervising author: Dr Provenier Frank