Doctors at St Helier Hospital have been given a new £50,000 weapon in the fight against high blood pressure.

The new state-of-the-art equipment, known as a renal ablation machine, was donated by the hospital’s dedicated charity the League of Friends of St Helier and Sutton hospitals.

The machine uses low-energy radio waves to ‘burn’ away certain nerve endings which can cause high blood pressure.

Renal nerves, which lie in the arteries that supply the kidneys, are vital for regulating blood pressure. High blood pressure can be caused by a fault in the signal sent by these nerves to the brain and the kidneys.

This new procedure works by stopping the faulty signals getting through and involves an incision in the right side of the groin and thin flexible tube being inserted into the renal arteries.

Doctors then pass a metal wire into the artery and apply radio waves to ‘burn’ away the renal nerves lying in the artery wall near each kidney, with no damage to the kidneys.

Consultant nephrologist Dr Pauline Swift treats patients with kidney disease and has a specialist interest in high blood pressure.

She said: “This new equipment is a fantastic tool in treating uncontrolled blood pressure, and it is already making a very real difference to the lives of patients.”

Mark Bradford who has been treated using the machine said: “Dr Swift promised me she would do all she could to bring my pressure down to a safe level, but for a while nothing seemed to work.

“Then I had the procedure with this new machine, and it’s worked. I am so grateful to Dr Swift, her team and the League of Friends.”