Purpose: The purpose of this prospective randomized study was to compare percutaneous transluminal renal angioplasty (PTRA) and operation as initial therapy with regard to technical results, primary and secondary patency, and effects on blood pressure and renal function in patients with atherosclerotic unilateral renal artery stenosis.
Methods: Fifty-eight patients who did not have diabetes, who were less than 70 years of age, and who had severe hypertension and significant stenosis were randomized to receive PTRA or operation. Angiography was performed 10 days, 1 year, and 2 years after treatment to verify patency, and blood pressure and renal function were simultaneously evaluated.
Results: Technically, PTRA was successful in 83% and operation in 97% of patients. The primary patency rate after 24 months was 75% in the PTRA group and 96% in the operative group in technically successful cases. The secondary patency rate in the PTRA group was 90% and in the surgical group 97%. To achieve these results four patients in the PTRA group required operation, and one patient in the surgical group required PTRA. Hypertension was cured or improved after additional treatment in 90% of the patients after PTRA and 86% after operation. The corresponding figures for improved or unchanged renal function were 83% and 72%, respectively. After additional treatment, effects on blood pressure and renal function did not differ. Seventeen percent of the patients treated with PTRA required surgical intervention.
Conclusions: PTRA is recommended as first choice of therapy for atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis causing renovascular hypertension if combined with intensive follow-up and aggressive reintervention.