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Hypertension Device

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Peter Hunt has taken drugs to treat his blood pressure for 30 years. "You feel very lethargic and live with the thing that you're going to have a heart attack or stroke and I'd tried all the medication but nothing worked."

Last month the 60-year-old enrolled in a study to test a new device called a Rox coupler. Early results show it significantly and immediately lowers patients' blood pressure.

A coupler is the size of a paper clip and is inserted beneath the skin in a simple and completely reversible procedure. There are no known side effects so far.

Dr. Mel Lobo of the Barts Hypertension clinic is leading the research. "We think this research is exciting because we have a lot of patients with difficult blood pressure and at the moment, we are struggling to treat them better."

The device is placed in the thigh and diverts blood to a nearby vein relieving the strain on the artery. This reduces the heart's workload and lowers blood pressure.

A third of American adults have high blood pressure. It causes heart attacks and heart failure, as well as strokes.

Peter says the treatment has changed his life. "Since I had it done my blood pressure has gone down. I feel better."

Hunt has had his blood pressure drugs reduced since getting the procedure. He hopes to eventually get off the medication entirely.

The study is expected to last through the summer. There are no plans currently to test the device in the United States.

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