Renal cholesterol embolic disease. Case report and review of the literature

Am J Nephrol. 1993;13(6):489-93. doi: 10.1159/000168669.


Renal cholesterol embolization is a rare disease occurring usually in elderly men who had undergone an angiographic procedure or vascular surgery. We report a man who developed systemic cholesterol embolic disease and acute renal failure after coronary angiography. A review of the English literature for renal cholesterol embolic disease revealed a high incidence of eosinophilia (71%). Livedo reticularis and digital infarcts occurred in more than 30% of patients. Forty percent of patients required dialysis for acute renal failure of whom only one fifth recovered sufficient renal function to stop dialysis. The overall mortality was high at 64%. Skin, muscle and kidney biopsies remain the main tools for diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / epidemiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Aged
  • Causality
  • Coronary Angiography / adverse effects*
  • Embolism, Cholesterol / complications
  • Embolism, Cholesterol / epidemiology*
  • Eosinophilia / epidemiology
  • Eosinophilia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / epidemiology
  • Renal Artery Obstruction / etiology*