Rationale and design of two randomized sham-controlled trials of catheter-based renal denervation in subjects with uncontrolled hypertension in the absence (SPYRAL HTN-OFF MED Pivotal) and presence (SPYRAL HTN-ON MED Expansion) of antihypertensive medications: a novel approach using Bayesian design

Clin Res Cardiol. 2020 Mar;109(3):289-302. doi: 10.1007/s00392-020-01595-z. Epub 2020 Feb 7.


Background: The SPYRAL HTN clinical trial program was initiated with two 80-patient pilot studies, SPYRAL HTN-OFF MED and SPYRAL HTN-ON MED, which provided biological proof of principle that renal denervation has a blood pressure-lowering effect versus sham controls for subjects with uncontrolled hypertension in the absence or presence of antihypertensive medications, respectively.

Trial design: Two multicenter, prospective, randomized, sham-controlled trials have been designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of catheter-based renal denervation for the reduction of blood pressure in subjects with hypertension in the absence (SPYRAL HTN-OFF MED Pivotal) or presence (SPYRAL HTN-ON MED Expansion) of antihypertensive medications. The primary efficacy endpoint is baseline-adjusted change from baseline in 24-h ambulatory systolic blood pressure. The primary safety endpoint is incidence of major adverse events at 1 month after randomization (or 6 months in cases of new renal artery stenosis). Both trials utilize a Bayesian design to allow for prespecified interim analyses to take place, and thus, the final sample sizes are dependent on whether enrollment is stopped at the first or second interim analysis. SPYRAL HTN-OFF MED Pivotal will enroll up to 300 subjects and SPYRAL HTN-ON MED Expansion will enroll up to 221 subjects. A novel Bayesian power prior approach will leverage historical information from the pilot studies, with a degree of discounting determined by the level of agreement with data from the prospectively powered studies.

Conclusions: The Bayesian paradigm represents a novel and promising approach in device-based hypertension trials.

Clinical trial registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02439749 (SPYRAL HTN-OFF MED Pivotal) and NCT02439775 (SPYRAL HTN-ON MED Expansion).

Keywords: Blood pressure; Device-based statistics; Renal sympathetic nervous system; Sham; Trial design.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Blood Pressure
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Denervation / methods
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sympathectomy / methods*


  • Antihypertensive Agents

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02439749
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02439775