Renovascular Disease

Renovascular disease is the blockage or narrowing within the renal arteries or veins, the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the kidneys. The arteries are affected much more commonly than the veins. This condition occurs more often in older patients, though young women may also be at risk for a certain type of renovascular disease called fibromuscular dysplasia.

Risk Factors for Renovascular Disease

Renovascular disease is most common in patients with atherosclerosis. Risk factors for renovascular disease may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High Cholesterol
  • Kidney Disorders

Types of Renovascular Disease

Types of renovascular disease may include:

  • Renal artery stenosis, the blockage of an artery to the kidneys
  • Renal artery thrombosis, the formation of a clot in a renal artery
  • Renal vein thrombosis, the formation of a clot in a renal vein
  • Renal artery aneurysm, a weakened area in the wall of an artery to the kidney
  • Atheroembolic renal disease, when a piece of plaque travels to and blocks the renal artery
  • Fibromuscular dysplasia, an abnormality of the blood vessel wall which causes narrowing of the wall of a renal artery

Symptoms of Renovascular Disease

Depending on the type of renovascular disease, patients may experience any of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion or anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Flank pain
  • Puffy eyes, hands or feet
  • Nausea and vomiting

Diagnosis of Renovascular Disease

Renovascular disease can be diagnosed through a complete review of systems, physical examination, and additional radiology testing such as ultrasound, CT scan, MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram), and angiography.

Treatment for Renovascular Disease

If left untreated, renovascular disease can lead to a heart attack, kidney damage, or a stroke. Treatment may include blood pressure medications, medications to dissolve blood clots, or a procedure such as balloon angioplasty and stenting to restore normal blood flow. Patients can reduce their risk of developing renovascular disease by managing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, avoiding smoking, and eating a healthy diet.

Additional Resources