Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis--diagnosis and treatment

Mayo Clin Proc. 2011 Jul;86(7):649-57. doi: 10.4065/mcp.2011.0181.


Renal artery stenosis (RAS) is characterized by a heterogeneous group of pathophysiologic entities, of which fibromuscular dysplasia and atherosclerotic RAS (ARAS) are the most common. Whether and which patients should undergo revascularization for ARAS is controversial. The general consensus is that all patients with ARAS should receive intensive medical treatment. The latest randomized clinical trials have increased confusion regarding recommendations for revascularization for ARAS. Although revascularization is not indicated in all patients with ARAS, experts agree that it should be considered in some patients, especially those with unstable angina, unexplained pulmonary edema, and hemodynamically significant ARAS with either worsening renal function or with difficult to control hypertension. A search of the literature was performed using PubMed and entering the search terms renal artery stenosis, atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis, and renal artery stenosis AND hypertension to retrieve the most recent publications on diagnosis and treatment of ARAS. In this review, we analyze the pathways related to hypertension in ARAS, the optimal invasive and noninvasive modalities for evaluating the renal arteries, and the available therapies for ARAS and assess future tools and algorithms that may prove useful in evaluating patients for renal revascularization therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty, Balloon
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / complications
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / diagnosis*
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / therapy*
  • Stents