A father-of-two is hoping a new treatment for high blood pressure will transform his life – after years using ineffective pills.
Mike Nicholson, aged 58, is one of the first people in the country – and the only one in South Yorkshire – to take part in a clinical trial which involves using ultrasound to treat uncontrolled hypertension.
Seven weeks into the Wave IV Clinical study, Mike’s blood pressure has dropped, but he said there is still a long way to go until he knows if the treatment has had any real impact.
“The trial is randomised, which means half of the patients are given a dummy treatment, but the patient and the doctor don’t know which patients are actually given the treatment and which have a dummy treatment. We won’t find out until the end of the year trial.
“I’m happy that my blood pressure has finally come down, it’s progress.
“I’m still on five tablets, three of them blood pressure tablets, then statins and aspirin, as the doctors want us to keep everything the same, so I still have side effects from that.
“The goal is for me to be able to come off the tablets when the trial is over, if I have had the treatment and it has been successful.”
Mike, of Stannington, was first diagnosed with the condition two years ago, when he felt continuously ill and went to the doctors for help.
“The doctor checked my blood pressure, which was incredibly high. The doctor went into a panic and phoned for an ambulance. Then, when I was on my way to Northern General Hospital, I had a stroke.
“My doctor put me on blood pressure tablets, but they gave me side effects such as swollen feet and ankles, muscle aches, dry mouth and I began to feel very tired all the time.
“My GP tried fine-tuning the drugs to find something to work. My blood pressure would come down and things seemed to be okay, then my body got used to drugs and the blood pressure went back up.
“I went through just over a year of trying different drugs which was very frustrating, but the tablets did not control my blood pressure.”
The treatment has been carried out St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and before it began Mike had to undergo tests to check he was suitable for it, including CT scans, blood tests and electrocardiograms.
The ultrasound works by targeting the tiny nerves that wrap around the kidney arteries, without damaging any surrounding tissue.
In previous trials, 75 per cent of patients achieved significant improvements in their blood pressure, and Mike is hoping the same will happen to him.
He added: “I am willing to travel to Barts as much as it takes so I can get back to normal and get fit again.”
If you suffer from uncontrolled hypertension, you may be eligible to take part in the study. To participate, you must be aged 18 to 90, take three or more prescription medicines for your high blood pressure and systolic blood pressure higher than 160mmHg.
For more information, visit www.konamedical.com/current-clinical-studies.