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"The safety was very good," with only one patient developing too-low blood pressure, Esler said.
Results also were published online by the British journal Lancet.
In an earlier pilot study, the blood pressure of patients who had the procedure at least 2 1/2 years ago remains improved, Esler said.
Esler said that as a young man 40 years ago, it was his dream to cure hypertension. "At least we have a device that is moving toward that," but curing the condition so people no longer need any drugs "is still probably a dream," he said.
"It seems too good to be true" that a procedure might cure high blood pressure, something doctors have long hoped for, said Dr. Mariell Jessup, head of the heart failure center at the University of Pennsylvania chair of the heart conference. Patients need to be followed for a long time to make sure the benefits last, she said.
They have so far for Dorian Blair, 37, a father of five who lives in Cleveland. Blair has a strong family history of high blood pressure, and said he has suffered five heart attacks and mini-strokes in the last five years or so. His blood pressure was in the 180 to 190 range, occasionally topping 200, when he had the nerve-zapping treatment last December. That number now is around 140, "which is pretty good for me," he said.
"It was a simple procedure. I was up and walking around a day later."
Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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