Atherosclerotic renovascular disease among hypertensive adults

J Vasc Surg. 2009 Sep;50(3):564-570, 571.e1-3; discussion 571. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2009.03.062.


Purpose: This report describes the change in atherosclerotic renovascular disease (AS-RVD) among hypertensive adults referred for renal duplex sonography (RDS) scan.

Methods: From Oct 1993 through July 2008, 20,994 patients had RDS at our center. A total of 434 hypertensive patients with two or more RDS exams without intervention comprised the study cohort. Patient demographics (blood pressures, medications, serum creatinine levels, and data from RDS) were collected. Analyses of longitudinal changes in Doppler scan parameters, blood pressures, and renal function were performed by fitting linear growth-curve models. After confirming the linearity of change in Doppler scan parameters among patients with variable number of studies, estimates of mean slopes were calculated using maximum likelihood techniques. For changes in renal function, quadratic growth curves were required to describe longitudinal change.

Results: A total of 434 subjects (212 men [49%] and 222 women [51%]; mean age, 64.6 +/- 12.2 years) provided 1351 studies (mean, 3.2 +/- 2.4; range, 2 to 18) for 863 kidneys over a mean follow-up of 34.4 +/- 25.1 months. At baseline, 20.6% of kidneys demonstrated hemodynamically significant stenosis. On follow-up, 72 kidneys (9.1%) demonstrated anatomic progression of disease. A total of 54 kidneys (6.9%) progressed to significant stenosis and 18 (2.3%) progressed to occlusion. Controlling for progression of disease, baseline renal artery status demonstrated a strong association with baseline kidney length (P = .0006). Significant annualized change in renal length was observed (cm change/year +/- standard error of the mean [SEM]: 0.042 +/- 0.011; P = .0002) among both kidneys with and without critical disease at baseline, however, decline in length was significantly greater among kidneys exhibiting progression of renovascular disease (-0.152 +/- 0.028 cm/year; comparison of slopes between groups P = .0005). In the absence of progression, the presence or absence of critical renal artery stenosis at baseline did not affect the rate of decline in renal length. Fitted models for the natural log transform of serum creatinine demonstrated a significant increase during follow-up (P < .0001). No association was observed between change in serum creatinine and baseline renovascular disease status, or its progression.

Conclusion: A total of 32% of hypertensive adults referred for RDS demonstrated hemodynamically significant renal artery stenosis. Regardless of the presence or absence of baseline disease, a small percentage of patients demonstrated anatomic progression of AS-RVD. A total of 9.1% demonstrated anatomic progression and 2.3% progressed to occlusion. Although anatomic progression of AS-RVD was associated with an increased rate of decline in renal length, progression did not predict a decline in excretory renal function. Intervention for AS-RVD should be selective and reserved for strict indications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Renovascular / diagnostic imaging
  • Hypertension, Renovascular / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension, Renovascular / physiopathology
  • Incidence
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / diagnostic imaging
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / epidemiology*
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Creatinine