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BACKGROUND: With emerging new therapeutic concepts including renal denervation (RDN), there is a renewed interest in resistant hypertension (ResH). Among patients suspected of having ResH, a definitive diagnosis needs to be established.

OBJECTIVES: This study presents observations from a standardized single-center screening program for RDN candidates, including medical therapy modification and reassessment.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: All patients referred to our center for RDN underwent a standardized screening protocol. Candidates were recruited from among patients receiving no less than 3 antihypertensive drugs, including diuretics with office blood pressure (BP) >140/90 mm Hg. The assessment included 2 measurements of BP and ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM). If needed, pharmacotherapy was intensified and the diagnosis of ResH was reconfirmed after 6 weeks. If ResH was persistent, patients were hospitalized with repeated ABPM on day 4. Further, renal CT-angio was performed and a multidisciplinary team discussed the patients' suitability for RDN.

RESULTS: A total of 87 patients with a ResH diagnosis were referred for RDN. Mean office BP was 159/92 (±7.0/6.5) mm Hg and mean ABPM was 154/90 (±9.0/4.8) mm Hg. The initial medication included angiotensin convertase inhibitors (ACE-I, 78%), angiotensin receptor blockers (12%), β-blockers (85%), calcium channel blockers (36%), and diuretics (93%). During the 18 months of the RDN program, 5 patients underwent RDN and 2 further had ineligible renal anatomy. A new diagnosis of secondary hypertension was made in 21 patients. However, in 59 patients, BP control was achieved after optimization of medical therapy, with a mean ABPM of 124/74 mm Hg. The final treatment included ACE-I (100%), β-blockers (92%), indapamide (94%), amlodipine (72%), and spironolactone (61%). Medication in most of these patients (88%) included single-pill triple combination (52.5%) or double combination (35.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with elevated BP screened for RDN require a rigorous diagnostic workup. Up to 2/3 of patients can be managed with strict pharmacotherapy compliance and pharmaceutical intensification, including single-pill combinations and improved drug compliance. Hasty use of RDN may be a result of poor drug optimization and/or compliance. It does remain a viable treatment option in thoroughly vetted ResH patients.


Originally published in Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine. See



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