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A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2008 October;49(5):591-608

language: English

Revascularization for atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis: the treatment of choice?

Corriere M. A., Edwards M. S.

Section on Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Medical Center Boulevard Winston Salem, NC, USA


Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (ARAS) is an important cause of renal dysfunction and secondary hypertension, and is associated with adverse cardiovascular events and increased mortality. The natural history of ARAS is characterized by anatomic disease progression and/or renal dysfunction in only a minority of patients. Medical therapy for ARAS is directed primarily toward blood pressure control and cardiovascular risk factor reduction. Renal artery revascularization is an additional treatment option for ARAS associated with ischemic nephropathy or severe, poorly controlled hypertension despite aggressive medical therapy. Unfortunately, the benefits associated with revascularization versus medical therapy alone remain unproven. Renal artery revascularization may be accomplished through open surgical revascularization or angioplasty and stenting. Although surgical renal revascularization is associated with more durable results and relatively lower risk for postoperative renal function decline, the increased risk of death or major complications associated with this management approach limit its use in patients with significant comorbidities. Renal artery angioplasty and stenting is being utilized with increasing frequency but is of uncertain benefit and is associated with rates of post-intervention renal function improvement and deterioration that are approximately equal. Renal function outcomes associated with angioplasty and stenting may be improved through a selective treatment approach and utilization of distal embolic protection. Renal artery revascularization represents the only treatment alternative for patients unresponsive to medical management, and is therefore the “treatment of choice” in this select group. Results of ongoing randomized trials are eagerly anticipated and may provide useful guidance for future management of ARAS.

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