Catheter-directed thrombectomy and thrombolysis for acute renal vein thrombosis

J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2006 May;17(5):815-22. doi: 10.1097/01.RVI.0000209341.88873.26.


Purpose: To evaluate the technical success and clinical outcome of the percutaneous treatment of acute renal vein thrombosis (RVT).

Materials and methods: Retrospective review was conducted of all patients with acute RVT treated with percutaneous catheter-directed thrombectomy with or without thrombolysis at one institution between 2000 and 2004. Demographics, comorbid conditions, and clinical outcomes associated with therapy were assessed.

Results: Seven thrombosed renal veins in six patients (mean age, 51.5 +/- 18.8 years) were treated with percutaneous catheter-directed thrombectomy/thrombolysis. Thrombosed renal veins included two allografts and five native veins, and diagnosis was confirmed in all cases by direct renal venography. Inferior vena cava thrombosis was the cause of RVT in one patient, and glomerulopathy was the cause in the remaining patients. Percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy was performed in all cases, and five renal veins were additionally treated with thrombolysis for a mean duration of 22.1 +/- 21.0 hours. Restoration of flow to renal veins was achieved in all thrombosed renal veins. Clinical improvement occurred in all patients: the mean serum creatinine level improved from a preoperative level of 3.3 +/- 1.92 mg/dL to a postoperative level of 1.92 +/- 1.32 mg/dL (P = .008). Mean glomerular filtration rate improved from a preoperative level of 30.8 +/- 23.0 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) to 64.2 +/- 52.4 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) (P = .04). There were no pulmonary emboli or hemorrhagic complications, and no RVT recurrence was documented during a median follow-up of 22.5 months.

Conclusions: Percutaneous catheter-directed thrombectomy with or without thrombolysis for acute RVT is associated with a rapid improvement in renal function and low incidence of morbidity. It is feasible for native and allograft renal veins and should be considered in patients with acute RVT, particularly in the setting of deteriorating renal function.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous / complications
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Renal Veins* / diagnostic imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thrombectomy*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnosis
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / therapy*
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin
  • Heparin