Renal Artery Intervention
Renal Artery Stenosis
Just as patients may develop atherosclerotic plaque resulting in blockages of the coronary, carotid or leg arteries, they may also develop blockages in the renal arteries (the arteries to the kidneys). Such blockages are suspected in patients who have severe hypertension (high blood pressure) that does not respond well to blood pressure medications. Another group of patients who are often found to have renal artery stenosis are those with worsening kidney function. Quite simply, the kidneys fail due to lack of adequate blood flow. Restoring normal blood flow to the kidneys can result in dramatic improvement in kidney function, as well as in blood pressure control, in selected patients.
Renal Artery Stenting
The optimal treatment for renal arteries with significant blockage is renal artery stenting. The blockage nearly always occurs at the origin of the artery where it comes off the aorta. There is often a great deal of smooth muscle around these arteries such that they are too “elastic” to respond well to balloon angioplasty. As a result, renal artery blockages are nearly always treated with a stent, (a metal scaffold strong enough to hold the artery open after balloon angioplasty). The procedure is accomplished either from femoral (groin) access or from radial (wrist) or brachial (elbow) access. The procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure with a very high success rate and very low complication rate. Renal artery stenting is particularly important in patients with bilateral renal artery stenosis, i.e. blockage within both renal arteries.