Renal Artery Intervention
What is it for?
The renal arteries supply blood to the kidneys, which also play a role in managing your blood pressure. Renal artery disease is most commonly caused by fatty deposits called plaque (atherosclerosis), resulting in narrowing and blockage of the renal arteries and a reduction in blood flow to the kidney. Patients may experience high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and mild or even severe kidney failure. People with kidney failure may experience symptoms such as weakness, shortness of breath or fatigue. Depending on several factors, treatment options may include medication, renal artery surgery, or angioplasty and stenting. The extent and location of the blockages and your overall health help determine which treatment is recommended.
How is it done?
At Loyola, the diagnosis and treatment of renal artery disease is achieved through a multi-disciplinary team of nephrologists, cardiologists, vascular specialists, endocrinologists and others. Commonly used diagnostic tools may include abdominal duplex ultrasound, magnetic resonance angiography, computed tomography angiography or nuclear medicine testing.
Sometimes renal artery disease can be treated with nonsurgical methods, including managing blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes. Your doctor can help you with programs to exercise more, quit smoking and improve your diet.
Renal artery surgery
Renal artery surgery to increase blood flow to a kidney includes an endarterectomy of the renal artery, or a renal artery bypass surgery. An endarterectomy removes the inner lining of the renal artery to widen the artery. Bypass surgery creates a detour around the blockage in the renal artery. The bypass is created with a graft from a vein in your leg or plastic material. Surgery takes about three to four hours and requires hospitalization for about five days.
Renal artery angioplasty and stenting
A catheter is inserted through a small puncture site or incision into a blood vessel in the arm or leg and guided into the renal artery. The catheter has a small balloon that inflates to widen the narrowing in the artery. A stent (small mesh tube) may then be placed in the artery to hold it open. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia and may be performed as an outpatient or may require hospitalization overnight.
What are the risks?
Risks of renal artery surgery include: bleeding, damage to the renal artery, infection, blood clots and heart attack. Additional risks of angioplasty and stenting include allergic reaction to dye and blockage.