Current approaches to atherosclerotic obstructive renal artery stenosis

Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Aug;9(4):153-7. doi: 10.1177/1753944715579143. Epub 2015 Apr 22.


Increased lifespan in the last few decades has substantially changed the scenario for renal artery stenosis. Indeed, because older populations show a higher prevalence of atherosclerotic disease, the incidence of atheromatous renal artery stenosis has also increased. Intuitively, one could surmise that stenosis removal should void both the hypertension and the kidney damage resulting from the obstructive stenosis. Surprisingly, a number of important clinical trials have failed to show the reversion seen in experimental models. The reasons for these differences may be linked to chronicity and inflammation associated with the atherosclerotic lesion. However, the failure to obtain a favorable response may also be related to abnormalities in the contralateral kidney. Indeed, this apparently normal kidney should work to compensate the hemodynamic effects of the ipsilateral stenosed kidney. Instead, structure and function in the contralateral kidney can be altered in renal artery stenosis to the point that this nonstenotic kidney may sustain both, hypertension and progressive kidney disease. Certainly, comparing the effects of clip removal in the Goldblatt model to angioplasty in clinical settings with atherosclerotic lesions may be totally inappropriate. Nevertheless, there remain certain clinical situations such as bilateral renal arterial disease, congestive heart failure, and progressive renal failure, where angioplasty may be an alternative. These approaches however are yet to be tested.

Keywords: atherosclerotic renal artery obstruction; percutaneous transluminal angioplasty; randomised trials; revascularization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty / methods
  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / therapy*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / complications
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / therapy*