MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Renal ablation continues to look good as a treatment for drug-resistant hypertension after 1 year of follow-up, according to newly released results of Medtronic’s (NYSE:MDT) Symplicity HTN-2 trial.
Researchers directed "short bursts of radio waves" at the nerves surrounding the kidneys, successfully lowering blood pressure for at least 6 months and up to 1 year, according to the American Heart Assn.
"Studies will soon determine whether this procedure can cure mild hypertension, producing permanent drug-free normalization of blood pressure," Murray Esler, professor and senior director of the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Australia, said in prepared remarks. "Based on the blood pressure declines achieved, reduction in heart attack and stroke rates of more than 40 percent is anticipated."
Hypertension, defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg, affects more than 78 million U.S. adults, and 9% of them fail to response to drugs, according to the press release.
Speed bumps as diagnostics
Researchers developed a questionnaire for healthcare providers monitoring patients in ambulances on the way to the emergency room, using a patient’s reaction to speed bumps as an indication of whether the patient may have appendicitis.
No more double-payments from Medicare
A federal audit warned healthcare providers at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to be more vigilant about duplications that result in excessive payments.