Abbott kidney stent drops blood pressure in hypertensive patients

A stent made by Abbott's vascular division helped lower blood pressure in patients suffering from severe hypertension in a major way, according to data from the company's pivotal HERCULES study.

News of the finding gives a big boost to the company's RX Herculink Elite renal stent system, which gained FDA approval about a year ago. HERCULES-related data helped support the initial regulatory nod to use the stent to treat renal artery stenosis, or narrowing of the main arteries that supply blood to the kidneys.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and elsewhere evaluated HERCULES data regarding Herculink's use, and found that patients who had severe hypertension saw the most dramatic blood pressure stop after getting the stent. The HERCULES trial enrolled 202 patients between August 2007 and October 2009, and the company had a near-100% success rate regarding the trial device itself, the procedure to implant it and clinical outcomes as well.

As the team noted in the announcement of their findings, the jury has been out as to whether kidney artery stenting could help lower blood pressure in a way that drugs can also do, and also prevent injury that could lead to end-stage renal disease. Abbott ($ABT) also faces potential competition for the indication regarding another, more drastic device option--renal denervation. St. Jude Medical ($STJ), Medtronic ($MDT) and Covidien ($COV) are all developing renal denervation technology, which is designed to treat patients with hypertension for whom drug treatments don't work.

Details are published in the journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.

- read the release
- check out the journal abstract