Background: Little is known about the efficacy and safety of renal artery stenting in patients with atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (ARAS) and impaired renal function.
Objective: To determine the efficacy and safety of stent placement in patients with ARAS and impaired renal function.
Design: Randomized clinical trial. Randomization was centralized and computer generated, and allocation was assigned by e-mail. Patients, providers, and persons who assessed outcomes were not blinded to treatment assignment.
Setting: 10 European medical centers.
Participants: 140 patients with creatinine clearance less than 80 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) and ARAS of 50% or greater.
Intervention: Stent placement and medical treatment (64 patients) or medical treatment only (76 patients). Medical treatment consisted of antihypertensive treatment, a statin, and aspirin.
Measurements: The primary end point was a 20% or greater decrease in creatinine clearance. Secondary end points included safety and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Results: Forty-six of 64 patients assigned to stent placement had the procedure. Ten of the 64 patients (16%) in the stent placement group and 16 patients (22%) in the medication group reached the primary end point (hazard ratio, 0.73 [95% CI, 0.33 to 1.61]). Serious complications occurred in the stent group, including 2 procedure-related deaths (3%), 1 late death secondary to an infected hematoma, and 1 patient who required dialysis secondary to cholesterol embolism. The groups did not differ for other secondary end points.
Limitation: Many patients were falsely identified as having renal artery stenosis greater than 50% by noninvasive imaging and did not ultimately require stenting.
Conclusion: Stent placement with medical treatment had no clear effect on progression of impaired renal function but led to a small number of significant procedure-related complications. The study findings favor a conservative approach to patients with ARAS, focused on cardiovascular risk factor management and avoiding stenting.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00150943.