The device contains 24 electrodes that are all integrated into a cuff that is micro-machined. The new device is designed so it could be wrapped around the vagal nerve, which extends out form the brainstem into the abdomen and thorax, stimulating and supplying major organs including blood vessels and the heart.
The new device identifies just those fibers that have an influence on blood pressure. Nerves that are responsible for the rate of the heart are avoided, as well as those pertaining to the heart beat, ventilation and other functions there are vital related to the heart.
The device picks up the signals of specific sensors or baroreceptors, which become activated when a blood vessel is stretched.
Researchers have carried out a study on laboratory rats. In that study, researchers found the device could be successful in reducing the blood pressure in the rats by as much as 40% and without any side effects that were major.
The researchers also said the finding of their study could be a blessing for many patients whose systems do not successfully respond to medical treatments available today.
The lead author of the study said the proof of concept interface showed that it was possible to use the body’s vagal nerve to help lower the blood pressure without having any adverse effects, which is very important for the wide variety of possible treatments that could use the nerve stimulation without having to penetrate the actual nerve.
The device would require surgery and therefore is the first choice for treatment and would be used when patients are resistant for whatever reason to other forms of medication.