Implant Tricks Brain To Lower Blood Pressure

Implant delivers shocks to lower blood pressure
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2007 10:42 AM CDT
Blood pressure reading.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A pacemaker-like implant that relies on small electrical shocks may cut the risk of heart attack and stroke in half for patients with drug-resistant hypertension, a new study shows. The device, which sends electrical shocks through the neck's carotid arteries, tricks the brain into thinking blood pressure is even higher than it is—and the body kicks in to lower it.

Researchers don't understand why high blood pressure on its own doesn't trigger the brain's reaction. For now they focusing on the results: a blood pressure drop of at least 20 points, a boon for the millions of Americans who suffer from hypertension that doesn't respond to medication.