Renal Artery Stenosis

Definition

Renal artery stenosis a narrowing of one or both of the main arteries supplying the kidney. This causes a decrease in blood flow to one or both kidneys. The kidneys filter and remove waste from the blood.
The Kidney and its Main Blood Vessels
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Causes

Each kidney is capable of regulating the body’s blood pressure to assure that each organ has an adequate supply of oxygenated blood. Stenosis activates a cascade of hormones known as the renin-angiotensin system. This pattern increases blood pressure. High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and heart attack. The two most common causes of renal artery stenosis are:
  • Atherosclerosis—Fatty plaque builds up in the arteries and blocks blood flow to the kidneys. This occurs mainly in men over 50 years old.
  • Fibromuscular dysplasia—An inherited disorder where muscle and fibrous tissue of the renal artery wall thicken and harden into rings that block blood flow to the kidneys. This occurs mainly in young women in their 30s.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of renal artery stenosis include:

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