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Blood Pressure Pacer

For some people, controlling blood pressure is a matter of eating a healthier diet, exercising more, and reducing stress. Others must add one or more medications.

When these standard approaches don’t do the trick, a novel technique that uses a pacemaker- like device may someday help, The Rheos system

The Rheos system (see illustration) works on baroreceptors (patches of nerve endings that are sensitive to changes in blood pressure) located inside the carotid arteries that run up either side of the neck. The device stimulates these baroreceptors using a pacemaker-like pulse generator connected to wire leads that run to each baroreceptor.

Stimulating the baroreceptors causes them to send signals to the brain. The brain interprets these signals as a rise in blood pressure. It responds by sending signals to the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels to
lower blood pressure. In a clinical trial of the Rheos
system reported the (Journal of the American College of Cardiology), participants with high blood pressure saw their systolic pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) drop an average of 35 points over the course of a year. Half of them were able to get their systolic pressure under 140, which is the goal for people with high blood pressure. This approach to fighting high blood pressure is intriguing, especially for people who can’t control their blood pressure with diet, exercise, and medications.

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