A new medical research has found that destroying a few nerves in the kidney through a surgical procedure could help keep blood pressure levels under check. Especially, in patients whose hypertension can’t be cured through medicines.

In a controlled study of 52 high blood pressure patients, BP levels of patients dropped by 32/12. Their average BP levels were 178/69. Another group of 54 patients under medication showed no signs of improvement.

“Those blood pressure reductions are pretty remarkable,” said Dr. Douglas Weaver, division head of cardiovascular medicine at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, who was not involved in the study. “Those patients had been given everything and had not responded.... Did they prove that this [should go into the clinic]? No, the study is far too small. But they have shown that here is a way we could potentially lower blood pressure."

Dr. Suzanne Oparil, a hypertension specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who also was not involved in the research, noted “there is an enormous clinical need for this kind of approach,” especially with high BP being one of the leading cause of deaths in the U.S.

In recent times, Ardian Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., developed a system in which a small catheter is passed through into the kidney, where he uses radiofrequency energy to destroy the targeted nerves that help reduce blood pressure.

Dr. Murray D. Esler of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, led a trial of the device, and noted that only five of the 52 of them refused to respond to the surgery.

These participants have been followed for six months so far. But those in the earlier trials have been followed for more than two years and have not found any positive results.

The surgery, doctors said takes approximately 40 to 60 minutes and would probably cost about $13,500, according to Ardian.