Purpose: To determine angiographically the origins and variations of renal arteries.
Materials and methods: The study included 855 consecutive patients (163 females, 692 males; mean age, 61 years) living in the Cukurova region of Turkey, who underwent either aortofemoropopliteal (AFP) angiography for the investigation of peripheral arterial disease, or renal angiography for renovascular hypertension, and were prospectively evaluated. Renal arteries were visualized by non-selective catheterization during AFP angiography and by selective or non-selective catheterization during renal angiography. Locations of renal artery origins and renal artery variations, including the presence of extra renal arteries and division patterns were analyzed on angiograms.
Results: The origin of main renal arteries off the aorta was between the upper margin of L1 and lower margin of L2 vertebra in 98% of the patients, and in 74%, this was the origin of extra renal arteries. The most common location for renal artery origin was the L1-L2 intervertebral disc level. A single renal artery was present in both kidneys in 76% of patients. Renal artery variations included multiple arteries in 24%, bilateral multiple arteries in 5%, and early division in 8% of the cases. Additional renal arteries on the right side were found in 16% and on the left side in 13% of cases. Of all the extra renal arteries, the percentage of accessory and aberrant renal arteries were 49% and 51%, respectively.
Conclusion: Renal arteries originated between the first and the second lumbar vertebral levels in most patients. Extra renal arteries were quite frequent. These results should be kept in mind when a non-invasive diagnostic search is performed for renal artery stenosis, or when renal surgery related to renal arteries is performed.