Renal Sympathetic Denervation for Treatment of Resistant Hypertension: A Systematic Review


Priyanka Gosain, MD, Department of Medicine, Stroger Hospital of Cook County, 1901 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612


Catheter-based renal sympathetic denervation (RSD) is a novel technique that is being investigated as treatment for resistant hypertension. To systematically evaluate the existing literature on the safety and efficacy of RSD in persons with resistant hypertension, online searches of Medline and the Cochrane Library Database (up to June 2012) were performed. Randomized controlled trials, observational studies, and conference proceedings published in English language were included. Nineteen studies (N=683 persons) were included. Follow-up duration ranged from 1 to 24 months. All studies reported significant reductions in systolic and diastolic pressures. Maximal reduction of blood pressure ranged from 18 mm Hg to 36 mm Hg (systolic) and 9 mm Hg to 15 mm Hg (diastolic). Sustained benefit of blood pressure reduction at 12 months was seen in 5 studies. No worsening of renal function was reported and there were few procedure-related adverse events such as pseudoaneurysm formation, hypotension, and bradycardia. Data from short-term studies suggest that RSD is a safe and effective therapeutic option in carefully selected patients with resistant hypertension. Long-term studies with large patient populations are needed to study whether this benefit is sustained with a demonstrable difference in cardiovascular disease event rates.