WROC-TV 8 in Rochester, NY reports that 36 year old Annette Lawrence of Rochester has made history yesterday when she became the first patient in the world to be implanted with the Rheos Baroreflex Hypertension System. The system, designed for treatment of drug refractory hypertension, works through the activation of baroreceptors–“pressure sensors” located inside the carotid sinus that are partially responsible for blood pressure regulation.
CVRx®, Inc., the manufacturer of the device, explains:
The Rheos system works by electrically activating the baroreflex, the system that regulates blood pressure. When activated by the Rheos system, signals are sent to the central nervous system and interpreted as a rise in blood pressure. The brain works to counteract this perceived rise by dilating blood vessels to allow blood to flow more freely, reducing the heart rate and influencing the kidneys to release fluid. In this way, the Rheos system provides a physiologically rational approach to reducing high blood pressure by allowing the brain to direct the body’s own control mechanisms. Reduction in blood pressue is associated with a reduction in the risk of: stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease.
The Rheos implantable pulse generator provides control and delivery of the activation energy through the Rheos carotid sinus leads. The leads conduct activation energy from the Rheos implantable pulse generator to the left and right carotid sinus, which are two main blood pressure control points. The Rheos programmer system provides the ability to non-invasively communicate with the Rheos pulse generator.
A surgical implant procedure is used to place the pulse generator under the skin near the collarbone. The electrodes are placed on the carotid arteries and the leads run under the skin and are connected to the pulse generator. This device is under clinical investigation at this time and not yet approved for commercial sale.