Randomized Blinded Placebo-Controlled Trials of Renal Sympathetic Denervation for Hypertension: A Meta-Analysis

Cardiovasc Revasc Med. 2022 Jan:34:112-118. doi: 10.1016/j.carrev.2021.01.031. Epub 2021 Jan 30.


Background: The efficacy of renal denervation has been controversial, but the procedure has now undergone several placebo-controlled trials. New placebo-controlled trial data has recently emerged, with longer follow-up of one trial and the full report of another trial (which constitutes 27% of the total placebo-controlled trial data). We therefore sought to evaluate the effect of renal denervation on ambulatory and office blood pressures in patients with hypertension.

Methods: We systematically identified all blinded placebo-controlled randomized trials of catheter-based renal denervation for hypertension. The primary efficacy outcome was ambulatory systolic blood pressure change relative to placebo. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed.

Results: 6 studies randomizing 1232 patients were eligible. 713 patients were randomized to renal denervation and 519 to placebo. Renal denervation significantly reduced ambulatory systolic blood pressure (-3.52 mmHg; 95% CI -4.94 to -2.09; p < 0.0001), ambulatory diastolic blood pressure (-1.93 mmHg; 95% CI -3.04 to -0.83, p = 0.0006), office systolic blood pressure size (-5.10 mmHg; 95% CI -7.31 to -2.90, p < 0.0001) and office diastolic pressure (effect size -3.11 mmHg; 95% CI -4.43 to -1.78, p < 0.0001). Adverse events were rare and not more common with denervation.

Conclusions: The totality of blinded, randomized placebo-controlled data shows that renal denervation is safe and provides genuine reduction in blood pressure for at least 6 months post-procedure. If this effect continues in the long term, renal denervation might provide a life-long 10% relative risk reduction in major adverse cardiac events and 7.5% relative risk reduction in all-cause mortality.

Keywords: Hypertension; Meta-analysis; Renal denervation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure
  • Denervation
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / diagnosis
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Hypertension* / surgery
  • Kidney
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sympathectomy / adverse effects
  • Sympathectomy / methods
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents