updated 4/1/2005 8:02:06 AM ET 2005-04-01T13:02:06

A New York woman is the first in the U.S. to receive a pacemaker-like implant the size of an iPod that has shown promise in controlling high blood pressure.

Surgeons at the University of Rochester Medical Center yesterday inserted the battery-powered pulse generator under the collarbone of a 36-year-old woman who has suffered for years from severe hypertension. The device has been used in Europe in limited trials.

Surgeons say after the implant was inserted, Annette Lawrence’s elevated blood pressure readings dropped sharply. The device uses tiny wires running up each side of the neck to stimulate nerves in the carotid arteries that play a role in regulating blood pressure.

Some 65 million American adults have high blood pressure, putting them at greater risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and other health problems.

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