Renal Artery Stenosis


Renal artery stenosis occurs when an artery in the kidney narrows. This causes a decrease in blood flow to that kidney. The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs. They filter and remove waste from the blood. Stenosis is narrowing that restricts an opening.
The Kidney and Its Main Blood Vessels
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Each kidney regulates the body’s blood pressure to make sure that each organ has enough oxygenated blood. This happens by activating the renin-angiotensin hormone system. Renal artery stenosis triggers the release of these hormones. This release causes hypertension, which is also known as high blood pressure.


There are several diseases of arteries that can cause them to become narrowed, including:

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your risk of developing renal artery stenosis include:
  • Sex: male
  • Age: over 50
  • Atherosclerosis elsewhere in your body
  • Previous stroke or heart attack
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol and triglyceride disorders


Most patients with renal artery stenosis have no symptoms. However, it may also cause:
  • Fluid retention
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Ankle swelling
If both renal arteries are blocked, kidney failure occurs.


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If you have elevated blood pressure, a search for its cause can involve many different tests. Unless there is a specific reason to suspect renal artery stenosis, it may not be considered at first.Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
  • Repeat blood pressure measurements
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
Images may be taken of your kidneys. This can be done with:
  • X-rays with contrasting dye
  • X-rays with contrast injected directly into the renal arteries
  • Ultrasound
  • Radioisotope imaging
  • CT or MRI scans with or without injected contrast agents
Your heart's activity may be measured. This can be done with an electrocardiogram.

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals

Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

Many medical groups felt that early exposure to certain foods like peanuts increased a child's risk of developing food allergies. However, newer research including this trial suggest that early exposure may actually decrease the risk of developing food allergies.

dot separator
previous editions

Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
February 2015

Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children
February 2015

Research Review Finds Little Support for Nearly Half of Medical Talk Show Recommendations
January 2015

dashed separator


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »