Renal Compression in Heart Failure: The Renal Tamponade Hypothesis

JACC Heart Fail. 2022 Mar;10(3):175-183. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2021.12.005. Epub 2022 Feb 9.


Renal dysfunction is one of the strongest predictors of outcome in heart failure. Several studies have revealed that both reduced perfusion and increased congestion (and central venous pressure) contribute to worsening renal function in heart failure. This paper proposes a novel factor in the link between cardiac and renal dysfunction: "renal tamponade" or compression of renal structures caused by the limited space for expansion. This space can be limited either by the rigid renal capsule that encloses the renal interstitial tissue or by the layer of fat around the kidneys or by the peritoneal space exerting pressure on the retroperitoneal kidneys. Renal decapsulation in animal models of heart failure and acute renal ischemia has been shown effective in alleviating pressure-related injury within the kidney itself, thus supporting this concept and making it a potentially interesting novel treatment in heart failure.

Keywords: cardiorenal interaction; congestion; kidney disease; renal tamponade.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome* / etiology
  • Female
  • Heart
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Male
  • Pressure