Background: Both radiofrequency and ultrasound endovascular renal sympathetic denervation (RDN) have proven clinical efficacy for the treatment of hypertension. We performed a head-to-head comparison of these technologies.
Methods: Patients with resistant hypertension were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 manner to receive either treatment with (1) radiofrequency RDN of the main renal arteries; (2) radiofrequency RDN of the main renal arteries, side branches, and accessories; or (3) an endovascular ultrasound-based RDN of the main renal artery. The primary end point was change in systolic daytime ambulatory blood pressure at 3 months.
Results: Between June 2015 and June 2018, 120 patients were enrolled (mean age, 64±9 years±SD; mean daytime blood pressure, 153/86±12/13 mm Hg). Of these, 39 were randomly assigned to radiofrequency main renal artery ablation, 39 to combined radiofrequency ablation of the main artery and branches, and 42 to ultrasound-based treatment. Baseline daytime blood pressure, clinical characteristics, and treatment were well balanced between the groups. At 3 months, systolic daytime ambulatory blood pressure decreased by 9.5±12.3 mm Hg ( P<0.001) in the whole cohort. Although blood pressure was significantly more reduced in the ultrasound ablation group than in the radiofrequency ablation group of the main renal artery (-13.2±13.7 versus -6.5±10.3 mm Hg; mean difference, -6.7 mm Hg; global P=0.038 by ANOVA, adjusted P=0.043), no significant difference was found between the radiofrequency ablation groups (-8.3±11.7 mm Hg for additional side branch ablation; mean difference, -1.8 mm Hg; adjusted P>0.99). Similarly, the blood pressure reduction was not found to be significantly different between the ultrasound and the side branch ablation groups. Frequencies of blood pressure response ≥5 mm Hg were not significantly different (global P=0.77).
Conclusions: In patients with resistant hypertension, endovascular ultrasound-based RDN was found to be superior to radiofrequency ablation of the main renal arteries only, whereas a combined approach of radiofrequency ablation of the main arteries, accessories, and side branches was not.
Clinical trial registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov . Unique identifier: NCT02920034.
Keywords: denervation; hypertension; kidney; sympathetic nervous system.