Background: Atherosclerotic renovascular disease (ARVD) is commonly associated with renal failure. It is now recognized that intrarenal damage, (ischaemic or atherosclerotic nephropathy) is a major contributor to the renal impairment in these patients. In this study the impact of histological changes upon renal functional outcome was investigated in patients with atherosclerotic nephropathy.
Methods: The Hope Hospital renal biopsy database (1985-1998) was interrogated for patients with histology compatible with atherosclerotic nephropathy. Case-note review enabled the assessment of several clinical parameters and outcomes, including change in creatinine clearance per year (DeltaCrCl (ml/min/year)), blood pressure control, dialysis need, and death. Renal parenchymal damage was analysed by morphometric analysis (of interstitial fibrosis and glomerulosclerosis) and a semi-quantitative chronic damage score (score 0-3 (normal-severe) for each of glomerulosclerosis, interstitial fibrosis, tubular atrophy, and arteriolar hyalinosis; maximum=12). Patients were stratified into two groups who had either deteriorating (group 1) or stable (group 2) renal function during follow-up.
Results: Twenty-five patients (age 64.7+/-10.5, range 43-83 years; 17 male, eight female) were identified. Sixteen patients had undergone angiography; two had significant (>50%) renal artery stenosis. Mean follow-up was 25.6+/-14.8 (range 5-50) months. Group 1 patients had DeltaCrCl -7.4+/-6.8 ml/min/year, n=14 and group 2 patients had DeltaCrCl 4.8+/-7.0 ml/min/year, n=11. Four patients in group 1 developed end-stage renal disease and five patients died (three in group 1 and two in group 2). At study entry, group 1 patients had worse renal function (CrCl 27.6+/-17.6 vs 36.0+/-33.9, NS), greater proteinuria (1.2 vs 0.5 g/24 h, NS), and higher systolic blood pressure (167.1+/-30.8 mmHg vs 150.6+/-37.8, NS) compared with group 2 patients. Group 1 patients showed more glomerulosclerosis (51.6 vs 24.9%, P:<0.01), greater proportional interstitial volume (44.9 vs 33.9%, P:<0.02), and higher overall chronic damage score (P:<0.05) than those in group 2. There was a significant correlation between renal functional outcome and chronic damage score, glomerulosclerosis and proportional interstitial volume for the entire patient cohort.
Conclusion: In patients with atherosclerotic nephropathy the severity of histopathological damage is an important determinant and predictor of renal functional outcome.