Effects of renal sympathetic denervation on blood pressure, sleep apnea course, and glycemic control in patients with resistant hypertension and sleep apnea

Hypertension. 2011 Oct;58(4):559-65. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.173799. Epub 2011 Aug 15.


Percutaneous renal sympathetic denervation by radiofrequency energy has been reported to reduce blood pressure (BP) by the reduction of renal sympathetic efferent and afferent signaling. We evaluated the effects of this procedure on BP and sleep apnea severity in patients with resistant hypertension and sleep apnea. We studied 10 patients with refractory hypertension and sleep apnea (7 men and 3 women; median age: 49.5 years) who underwent renal denervation and completed 3-month and 6-month follow-up evaluations, including polysomnography and selected blood chemistries, and BP measurements. Antihypertensive regimens were not changed during the 6 months of follow-up. Three and 6 months after the denervation, decreases in office systolic and diastolic BPs were observed (median: -34/-13 mm Hg for systolic and diastolic BPs at 6 months; both P<0.01). Significant decreases were also observed in plasma glucose concentration 2 hours after glucose administration (median: 7.0 versus 6.4 mmol/L; P=0.05) and in hemoglobin A1C level (median: 6.1% versus 5.6%; P<0.05) at 6 months, as well as a decrease in apnea-hypopnea index at 6 months after renal denervation (median: 16.3 versus 4.5 events per hour; P=0.059). In conclusion, catheter-based renal sympathetic denervation lowered BP in patients with refractory hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea, which was accompanied by improvement of sleep apnea severity. Interestingly, there are also accompanying improvements in glucose tolerance. Renal sympathetic denervation may conceivably be a potentially useful option for patients with comorbid refractory hypertension, glucose intolerance, and obstructive sleep apnea, although further studies are needed to confirm these proof-of-concept data.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00483808.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Catheter Ablation
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose Intolerance / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / surgery*
  • Kidney / innervation*
  • Kidney / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Sympathectomy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00483808