Researchers working on device to controls blood pressue
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Researchers are working on a new way to control high blood pressure.
Instead of using medicine, they're testing a new device that's implanted right into the body.
Two years ago, Tim Shockley's blood pressure suddenly shot through the roof.
"No cause, no difference, no nothing. And all of a sudden at this particular doctor's appointment the blood pressure was crazy high," said Shockley.
He took four different drugs, but still, his blood pressure remained high!
It got so bad; it started to affect his eyes.
"Now I've got an 18 month old grandson, the thought of not being able to watch him grow up, it's terrifying," said Shockley.
Desperate for a solution, he volunteered to be the first patient in the United States to test a new device to help control his blood pressure, without drugs.
It's called Baro-stim Neo, a pacemaker-like device implanted under the collarbone.
It sends electrical signals through a wire, connected to the carotid artery in the neck.
"We've known for a time that this area of the artery controls blood pressure," said Dr. Karen Woo, a surgeon.
The nerves here transmit the signals to the brain activating one of the body's natural blood pressure control mechanisms.
"When the brain gets this signal, what it does is crank down that fight or flight response and basically tells your body to relax that will in turn decrease your blood pressure," said Dr. Woo.
Tim got the implant in may.
Researchers are turning up the stimulation gradually, to ease him in. Already it is starting to lower his blood pressure.
"I just want it to work, I want the pills gone, and I just want to go about the rest of my life, not thinking about blood pressure," said Shockley.
So far, the device is being tested on about 310 patients nationwide.