Renal artery stenosis is a narrowing in the blood vessels of the kidneys. This narrowing can reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys. With reduced blood flow, the kidneys do not function properly. Overtime, reduced blood flow to the kidneys can lead to high blood pressure and chronic renal disease (the slow loss of kidney function). Because renal artery stenosis develops slowly and worsens over time, there are no obvious symptoms.
Why Choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?
Ohio State's vascular surgeons are experts in the treatment of renal artery stenosis. They offer both minimally invasive treatments, such as opening of the renal arteries with stents, and they also perform open bypass surgeries to improve blood flow to the kidneys if necessary.
What Is Renal Artery Stenosis?
The kidneys remove waste and excess water from the blood. When blood flows normally through the kidneys, waste is filtered into urine. Waste is then carried out of your body through urination.
The kidneys also help control blood pressure. They secrete a hormone called renin that can help regulate your blood pressure if it is too high or low. When renal artery stenosis develops, the blood vessels narrow. This narrowing causes reduced blood flow. The kidneys respond as if the blood pressure is low and mistakenly secrete hormones that tell the body to hold on to more salt and water, which causes the blood pressure to rise.
High blood pressure damages the small blood vessels in the kidneys, reducing their ability to filter waste from the blood. Renal artery stenosis develops and worsens over time. Without treatment, kidney damage will progress and can result in kidney failure.
What Causes Renal Artery Stenosis?
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) causes renal artery stenosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque builds up on the artery walls, narrowing them and slowing blood flow. Factors that increase your risk for atherosclerosis include: