Renal denervation may have lost some of its hype over the course of the last year, but researchers are still findings new ways to utilize the technology to target new diseases.
Technologies such as Medtronic’s (NYSE:MDT) Symplicity and St. Jude Medical’s (NYSE:STJ) EnligHTN systems, developed in treatment of hypertension, may have applications in ailments ranging from chronic kidney disease to obstructive sleep apnea.
During a panel at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics symposium in San Fransisco yesterday researchers touted promising new uses for renal denervation technology, citing research that suggests that the therapy produces indirect benefits in a range of diseases with ties to hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
The studies were largely suggestive, pointing to areas for more research rather than producing any actionable results, but researchers were optimistic about case reports and emerging trends suggesting that renal denervation may:
- alleviate symptoms of Type II diabetes, improving insulin sensitivity and reducing fasting glucose and insulin levels;
- lower arterial stiffness associated with chronic kidney disease, which nearly always leaves patients with hard-to-treat hypertension;
- reduce severity of obstructive sleep apnea, which affects nearly half of all resistant hypertension patients;
- reduce incidence of ICD therapy in patients with cardiac arrhythmias;
- and reduce sympathetic nerve activity in patients with congestive heart failure.
The boost in clinical interest may be just what renal denervation needs to climb back into the spotlight. The technology hogged headlines at conferences around the world last year, but the message in 2013 is a much more sober one: the technology hasn’t taken off as quickly as the industry might have hoped.