An unexpected discovery out of Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, UK showed that deep brain stimulation (DBS) can lower blood pressure, even in cases in which drugs are unsuccessful.
The discovery reportedly occurred when a 55-year-old patient received a deep brain stimulator to treat his pain from central pain syndrome that developed after a stroke. At the time of the stroke, the patient was diagnosed with high blood pressure, which could not be controlled despite taking four different drugs. The deep brain stimulator was largely unsuccessful at controlling the patient’s pain, but amazingly it decreased his blood pressure enough that he could stop taking all four medications.
Researchers confirmed the effects of the deep brain stimulator by turning it on and off over a three-year period, which showed an average of a 32/12 mmHg decrease in blood pressure when the stimulator was turned on and an 18/5 mmHg increase when the device was turned off.
This breakthrough could lead to a new form of treatment for those whose hypertension cannot be controlled by drugs.
Press release from the American Academy of Neurology: Deep Brain Stimulation May Help Hard-to-Control High Blood Pressure…
Abstract in Neurology: Deep brain stimulation relieves refractory hypertension
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*