St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ), a global medical device company, today announced plans for a new landmark study that will evaluate whether renal denervation and medication can provide health benefits to patients beyond lowering high blood pressure. The EnligHTNment trial is the first large-scale study that will examine the long-term effects of renal denervation in patients who have uncontrolled hypertension to see if renal denervation also reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and death.
Image of the St. Jude Medical EnligHTN(TM) Renal Denervation System. (Courtesy St. Jude Medical)
Uncontrolled hypertension occurs when blood pressure in the arteries remains elevated, requiring the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood throughout the body. This condition puts one in three adults worldwide at risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Additionally, the WHO estimates that 7.5 million deaths each year, or 13 percent of all deaths can be attributed to raised blood pressure. This includes 51 percent of deaths due to stroke and 45 percent of deaths due to coronary heart disease.
“To date, the renal denervation studies that have been conducted only looked at reducing blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled or resistant hypertension,” said Professor Michael Böhm, director and chief of internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Saarland in Homburg/Saar, Germany, a principal investigator for the trial. “What we need to know is if this minimally invasive approach for treating hypertension also correlates to a reduction in major cardiac events such as heart attack, stroke and death, which are the primary risks for patients whose blood pressure is not well controlled.”