Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) launched U.S. trials of its Symplicity renal denervation system for hypertension with the enrollment of the first patient at the Prairie Heart Institute in Springfield, Ill.
Cross-town rival St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) two weeks ago launched a feasibility study of its own renal denervation device. The procedure is used to treat high blood pressure by using a catheter to ablate the nerves lining the renal arteries.*
"Renal denervation has the potential to extend the lives of millions of people who suffer from treatment-resistant hypertension," Prairie Vascular Institute medical director Dr. Krishna Rocha-Singh said in prepared remarks. "Based on the results of prior clinical studies and contemporary clinical practice, this interventional technique could be one of the most significant advances in our approach to addressing this insidious disease to be developed in decades."
The device, developed by Ardian and acquired by Medtronic in January, received CE Mark approval for sale in the European Union and also won an Australia TGA listing.
If successful, the therapy could one day play a role in treating heart failure, insulin resistance and chronic kidney disease, diseases also characterized by a hyperactive sympathetic drive.