Implantable Coupler Device Undergoes Clinical Trial

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have begun research on using an implantable device called a coupler that diverts blood flow from troubled areas, resulting in lower blood pressure. Initial testing has reported the reduction to be as much as 15 percent. Though the study has been performed with a relatively small group – 83 patients – larger studies are underway.

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This is another example of how technology is being used to solve the most silent killer of people – high blood pressure. In one case, the implant was surgically placed in their leg, with the only consistent side effect recorded being swelling at the implant site. The initial research shows much promise and is expected to be available in European markets within the next three years.

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If there is a potential problem with the solution, it is that a surgical method is required. Any medical procedure that is invasive has the potential to invite infection or other open wound problems, regardless of the size of the incision.

Another issue with the proposed solution is that it really does not address the root cause of the problem. In effect, it is saying medical research and technology will sidestep the real problem and instead look for yet another temporary solution. For example, there is a direct connection established between high blood pressure and the amount of sodium or salt in a person’s diet. Reducing the amount of salt is a solution since directly addresses the cause of the problem.

Should the implant be approved for general public use, it is only a stop gap measure. It is a welcome temporary solution, but like the mechanics of the device which reroutes blood to a vein, it only serves to divert attention from the real problem. Until a person’s health is the focus and not technological solutions, high blood pressure will remain the leading silent killer.

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