Ultrasound Hypertension Therapy Delivers Promising Results to High Blood Pressure Patients Unresponsive to Medication
According to a new study, people with type 2 diabetes and comorbid treatment-resistant high blood pressure may have better treatment response with ultrasound hypertension therapy. A research team in Tohoku University’s Department of Diabetes Technology in Japan treated 212 patients with type 2 diabetes, who also had persistent hypertension, with ultrasound technology and found overall decreased blood pressure levels in the study groups.
The subjects were divided into four groups. Two groups each received 20 minutes of low-intensity ultrasound irradiation to the forearm at different frequencies—one at 500 kHz and the second at 800 kHz—where the other two groups served as control groups and received placebos. After treatment, blood pressure and heart rates were significantly decreased compared to pretreatment values. Values were also lower than the ones in the placebo groups, particularly subjects from the 500 kHz group.
Mechanism of action as to how ultrasound waves decrease blood pressure is unclear. One theory is that it subdues sympathetic nerve pathways from the forearm to the rest of the cardiovascular system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “flight-and-fight” response in humans and a major homeostatic regulatory component in the body that is largely responsible for vasoconstriction, which increases blood pressure.
The 212 participants of the study experienced no adverse effects post-treatment. Ultrasound technology has been safely used for several years as a medical imaging and diagnostic tool, particularly for fetal imaging. It uses sound waves, similar to sonar, instead of ionizing radiation, like x-rays and gamma rays that can harm organs and tissues especially with repeated use.
More research is needed to establish complete safety and efficacy. However, ultrasound hypertension therapy appears to be an inexpensive and noninvasive treatment protocol for intractable hypertension.