Dr. Magdi Ghali

Dr. Magdi Ghali

Volunteers with treatment-resistant high blood pressure are needed for a medical trial that’s being done at a hospital in central Iowa, one of only seven medical centers in the country chosen for the study.

Dr. Magdi Ghali, a cardiologist at the Iowa Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines, says a small metal device is implanted in the carotid artery in the neck, a key place where the body regulates blood pressure.

Dr. Ghali says, “This device sits there and increases the sensitivity of the nerve endings to the pressure that’s happening inside the artery, allowing the brain to receive the correct signal and then lower the blood pressure.”

Despite advances, Ghali says a growing number of patients in Iowa with high blood pressure suffer from drug resistance and they have few options once they’ve failed multiple medications. The trial is designed only for patients with treatment-resistant high blood pressure, also known as resistant hypertension.

“The patients who qualify are people who are on three blood pressure medications and their blood pressure is remaining higher than 160/90,” Ghali says. “If that’s the case, we would evaluate the patient to make sure there’s not a secondary cause and then they would have a couple of weeks of keeping a diary of the blood pressure to make sure they’re exactly the right patient for the study.”

Hypertension can significantly increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, so controlling it is vitally important, he says.

For more information about the trial, call (515) 633-3845.