Baroreflex activation therapy is a novel technique for treating patients with resistant hypertension. Although short-term studies have demonstrated that it lowers blood pressure, long-term results have not yet been reported. The aim of the present study is to assess the long-term efficacy and safety of baroreflex activation therapy. Long-term follow-up data were analyzed from all patients who had been included in 1 of the 3 trials that focused on treatment-resistant hypertensive patients. Altogether, 383 patients were available for analysis: 143 of these had completed 5 years of follow-up and 48 patients had completed 6 years of follow-up. In the entire cohort, office systolic blood pressure fell from 179±24 mm Hg to 144±28 mm Hg (P<0.0001), whereas office diastolic pressure dropped from 103±16 mm Hg to 85±18 mm Hg (P<0.0001). Heart rate fell from 74±15 beats per minute to 71±13 beats per minute (P<0.02). The effect of baroreflex activation therapy is greater than average in patients with signs of heart failure and less than average in patients with isolated systolic hypertension. In ≈25% of patients, it was possible to reduce the number of medications from a median of 6 to a median of 3. Temporary side effects, related to either the surgical procedure or the cardiovascular instability, do occur, but they do not require specific measures and resolve over time.
After a follow-up of 6 years, baroreflex activation therapy maintains its efficacy for persistent reduction of office blood pressure in patients with resistant hypertension without major safety issues.