‘Butterfly’ Gives Hope!

We know high blood pressure is one of the risk factors for both stroke and heart disease, most people diagnosed are able to take relevant medication, however, there are some who cannot, or do not benefit

American trials have discovered that a titanium device, the ‘butterfly’, implanted in the neck, could give hope to half a million British patients not only reducing their risk of stroke and heart attacks but dementia too.

This amazing device the size of a baked bean has the ability to improve patients’ prospects were previously medication had been unable to do so. Within months after having the butterfly fitted, their readings were seen to drop to normal levels.

Patients will still be required to take tablets but at reduced doses. The device, called MobiusHD, was given European approval last year.  It is now set to be offered to a group of patients taking part in a trial here in the U.K. led by British experts.

The butterfly is inserted in a branch of one of the carotid arteries.  It applies gentle tension to bundles of nerves that are involved in regulating blood pressure. These nerves, the baroreceptors, detect changes in our blood pressure and communicate with signals to the brain, allowing it to make the required changes keeping our blood pressure at safe levels. It is believed that in people with long term raised blood pressure the baroreceptors malfunction and as a result set the body’s resting blood pressure at a dangerously high level. This device is designed to trick the brain into thinking blood pressure is constantly raised by the pressure it places on the nerves.

Dutch cardiologist Dr Jan Van Der Heyden, who has now been using the device on patients for sometime said, “we’ve been following patients for more than two years and have seen dramatic improvements”, some were on highest doses and even housebound previously because even going for a walk would raise their blood pressure to dangerous levels. After having the Möbius implant, they have been able to reduce this to just one medication. They can go out, start exercising again and live a normal life. They say it’s like being reborn.

I don’t know about you but hearing the difference this small device has made to some patients lives made me feel quite emotional and excited, as we can empathise and appreciate how they feel both before and afterwards, so I feel it is a promising and welcome discovery. Plus, if we think more than 150,000 people in the UK die each year as a result of either uncontrolled or untreated high blood pressure or hypertension, stroke or heart attacks being the main causes of these deaths, then this fabulous butterfly has my vote.

We must also remember that we have a responsibility to ourselves too, with diet and lifestyle. We can cut down on salt intake and take as much exercise as possible within our limitations, but we can always do something. We owe it to ourselves to try and eat as healthily as possible.

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