Blood Pressure Modulation with Ultrasound

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Blood Pressure Modulation With Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Stimulation to the Vagus Nerve: A Pilot Animal Study.

Objective: For hypertensive individuals, their blood pressure (BP) is often managed by taking medications. However, antihypertensive drugs might cause adverse effects such as congestive heart failure and are ineffective in significant numbers of the hypertensive population. As an alternative method for hypertension management, non-drug devices-based neuromodulation approaches such as functional electrical stimulation (FES) have been proposed. The FES approach requires the implantation of a stimulator into the body. One recently emerging technique, called low-intensity focused ultrasound stimulation (FUS), has been proposed to non-invasively modulate neural activities. In this pilot study, the feasibility of adopting low-intensity FUS neuromodulation for BP regulation was investigated using animal models.
Methods: A FUS system was developed for BP modulation in rabbits. For each rabbit, the low-intensity FUS with different acoustic intensities was used to stimulate its exposed left vagus nerve, and the BP waveform was synchronously recorded in its right common carotid artery. The effects of the different FUS intensities on systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), mean blood pressure (MAP), and heart rate (HR) were extensively examined from the BP recordings.
Results: The results demonstrated that the proposed FUS method could successfully induce changes in SBP, DBP, MAP, and HR values. When increasing acoustic intensities, the values of SBP, DBP, and MAP would tend to decrease more substantially.
Conclusion: The findings of this study suggested that BP could be modulated through the FUS, which might provide a new way for non-invasive and non-drug management of hypertension.

PMID: 33304236 [PubMed]

Front Neurosci. 2020;14:586424

Authors: Ji N, Lin WH, Chen F, Xu L, Huang J, Li G