Renal Vascular Disease
What is renal vascular disease?
Renal vascular disease affects the blood flow into and out of the kidneys. It may cause kidney damage, kidney failure, and high blood pressure.
Types of renal vascular disease
Renal artery stenosis (RAS). This is a narrowing or
blockage of an artery to the kidneys. It may cause kidney failure and high blood
pressure. Smokers have a greater risk of getting RAS. High cholesterol, high
triglycerides, diabetes, too much weight, and a family history of heart disease are
also risk factors for RAS. High blood pressure is both a cause and a result of
Renal artery thrombosis. This is a blood clot in an artery that supplies a kidney. It may
block blood flow and cause kidney failure.
Renal vein thrombosis. This is the formation of a clot in
a vein to a kidney.
Renal artery aneurysm. This is a bulging, weak area in the
wall of an artery to a kidney. Most are small and don’t cause symptoms. Renal artery
aneurysms are rare and are often found during tests for other conditions.
Atheroembolic renal disease. This happens when a piece of
plaque from a larger artery breaks off and travels through the blood. This blocks
small renal arteries. This disease is becoming a common cause of kidney problems in
Renin is a strong hormone that
raises blood pressure. Decreased blood flow to a kidney from renal vascular disease may
cause too much renin to be made. This can lead to high blood pressure.
What causes renal vascular disease?
The cause of renal vascular disease will depend on the specific condition involved. The main causes are:
- Morbid obesity
- Fibromuscular dysplasia
- Inflammatory or other underlying
- Certain medicines
- Birth defect
Who is at risk for renal vascular disease?
Risk factors for renal vascular disease include:
- Older age
- Female sex
- High blood pressure, especially new high blood pressure in an older person
- High cholesterol
What are the symptoms of renal vascular disease?
Symptoms of renal vascular disease vary depending on the type of disease and degree of involvement present.
Type of renal vascular disease
Renal artery stenosis
Renal artery thrombosis
A gradual or
Renal artery aneurysm
Atheroembolic renal disease
Renal vein thrombosis
These symptoms may look like other
health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is renal vascular disease diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will
review your medical history and do a physical exam. You may also need these tests:
Arteriogram (or angiogram). This is an X-ray image of the
blood vessels used to check for aneurysm, narrowing, or blockages. A dye (contrast)
is injected through a thin, flexible tube placed in an artery. This dye makes the
blood vessels visible on X-ray.
Duplex ultrasound. This test is done to check blood flow
and the structure of the renal veins and arteries. The term “duplex” refers to the
fact that 2 modes of ultrasound are used. The first takes an image of the renal
artery being studied. The second mode checks the blood flow.
Renography. This test is used to check the function and
structure of the kidneys. It is a type of nuclear medicine procedure. This means that
a tiny amount of a radioactive substance is used during the test to help view the
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). This test uses a
combination of magnetic fields and radio waves along with intravenous (IV) contrast
dye to see blood vessels. Contrast dye causes blood vessels to appear solid on the
MRI image. This lets the healthcare provider see the blood vessels and how the blood
flows through them.