Renal Denervation

  • Mark C. Bates
  • Christopher Adams


Renal nerve denervation (RND) entered clinical trials backed by strong preclinical evidence alongside decades of clinical research confirming the strong contribution of the adrenergic system to the hypertensive continuum. In addition, the initial technical approach for achieving nerve interruption utilized a time-tested intravascular radiofrequency ablation technique. The promise that RND could reduce blood pressure was met with great enthusiasm, and compelling results in subsequent non-randomized resistant hypertension trials further advanced the RND hypothesis. However, well-designed, blinded, sham-controlled randomized trials failed to show benefit in resistant hypertension patients. The failed randomized RND trials stunned investigators and triggered a significant pause in field maturation. The goal of this overview is to introduce the scientific foundation for the RND hypothesis followed by an introduction of some technologies being tested and conclude with literature-supported insight on where the field is heading. It does seem that the resistant hypertension patient population is particularly susceptible to regression-to-the-mean, and carefully constructed randomized trials (perhaps excluding non-responder hypertension phenotypes) may be needed to move the field forward. In the end, it seems likely that some day a device-driven adrenergic system modification will find a clinical pathway to widespread acceptance but, at the time of this overview, RND remains unproven.



The authors would like to acknowledge Khaled M Ziada, MD, FACC, FSCAI from the Gill Heart Institute, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA, who provided the angiogram from the SYMPLICITY Spyral trial patient used as the background for ◘ Fig. 89.3. We also would like to thank Dr. Bryan Williams (Chair of Medicine University College London, London, UK) who provided insight into countless trialists and scientists regarding optimizing future HTN trial designs and provided inspiration from previous lectures (◘ Table 89.3).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charleston Area Medical Center Vascular Center of Excellence, Department of Vascular Medicine and Cardiovascular Intervention and West Virginia University School of MedicineCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Charleston Area Medical Center Health Education and Research Institute and West Virginia University School of Medicine, Department of Vascular Medicine and Cardiovascular InterventionCharlestonUSA

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