First ultrasound renal denervation procedure in Illinois performed at Blessing Hospital

Team that performed the first RDN procedure in state of Illinois at Blessing Hospital

From left, the team members who participated in the historic procedure at Blessing Hospital are Reggie Suhling, respiratory therapist; Vanessa Lyons, Recor representative; Caroline Wiewel, registered nurse; Jordan Hahn, registered nurse; Katie Wait, respiratory therapist; Jordan Stroot, respiratory therapist; Dr. Jeff Cook, implanting physician, interventional cardiologist; Dr. Thejeswi Pujar, nephrologist; Chloe Schlueter, radiology student; and Miranda Price Recor representative. | Photo courtesy of Blessing Hospital

QUINCY — A first-of-its-kind medical procedure in Illinois was performed at Blessing Hospital in Quincy on Friday, April 12.

The minimally invasive ultrasound procedure is called Renal Denervation (RDN). It is intended for people living with uncontrolled high blood pressure. In addition to being the first ultrasound RDN procedure of its kind in Illinois, the ultrasound procedure is not yet available at St. Louis area hospitals either.

The patient involved in the historic ultrasound RDN procedure at Blessing Hospital is in their 50s and had a blood pressure of 158/95.

Blessing Health cardiologists Dr. Jeffrey Cook and Dr. Steven Krause are trained to perform the ultrasound RDN procedure, with Dr. Cook performing the first one in the state of Illinois. Also participating in the procedure was Blessing Health kidney specialist Dr. Thejewsi Pujar.

“It went off without a hitch. Exactly as planned,” Cook said in a press release.

He said he is excited by the technology and the potential benefit it offers patients.

“It is enjoyable to use new technology, especially technology that brings a new benefit to the patient,” Cook said. “The data shows a pretty significant improvement in blood pressure is possible through this procedure.”

When not controlled, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and dementia. At age 50, people without high blood pressure have a life expectancy five years longer than people with the condition.

RDN is typically for patients whose high blood pressure remains uncontrolled despite making lifestyle changes and taking multiple medications. Using ultrasound energy waves from a specially-designed device, the RDN procedure calms overactive nerves surrounding the arteries that lead to the kidneys, which has been shown to reduce high blood pressure. Combined data from clinical trials shows RDN can bring a patient’s uncontrolled high blood pressure down by 8 points within two to three months and by as much as 20 points over time.

The device delivering the ultrasound energy is Recor Medical’s FDA-approved Paradise Ultrasound RDN System. The procedure takes 45 minutes to an hour, and patients typically return home the same day they undergo the procedure.

To be eligible for the RDN procedure at Blessing, patients need to be referred by their primary care providers to the Hypertension Clinic at Blessing Hospital or Blessing Health Hannibal. The clinic is a partnership between the nephrology and cardiology departments.

Cook believes many patients in the region could benefit from the RDN procedure.

“We want primary care doctors to know this option is available for their patients whose blood pressure is uncontrolled despite their best efforts,” he said.

To qualify for care from Blessing Health’s Hypertension Clinic, a person must have a blood pressure that remains above 140/90 despite being on at least three medications and receive a referral from their primary care provider to the Hypertension Clinic at Blessing Hospital or at Blessing Health Hannibal.

People with questions may call nurse practitioners Taylor Welch in Quincy at 217-214-6260, or Lauren Brandenburger in Hannibal at 573-231-3863, option 5.

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