Atheroembolic renal disease is one in which the kidneys fail because the arteries that supply them become blocked. The kidney is then deprived of oxygen-carrying blood.
Blockage in the renal arteries can be caused by these conditions: an aneurysm, or bulging in the wall of the blood vesselatherosclerosis, which consists of a buildup of a fatty substance called plaque in the arteriesan embolism, which is a blood or cholesterol clot that travels from some other place in the body and lodges in an artery
Symptoms of a blocked renal artery can include: abdominal painblood in the urinehigh blood pressure nauseapain in the back between the ribs and the hips
The following can cause atherosclerosis: diabeteshigh blood pressurehigh cholesterolinfectionsmoking
Some of the causes of blood clots are as follows: arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeatscoronary heart diseaseheart valve diseaseplaque buildup
The following can cause cholesterol clots: complications from procedures on the heart, such as cardiac catheterizationmedicine used to break up clotsplaque buildupvascular surgery
Aneurysms can be formed by the following: high blood pressure over a long period of timeplaque builduppoorly understood genetic factorstrauma to the blood vessel, such as surgery or a gunshot wound
Some cases of atheroembolic renal disease cannot be prevented. Other times, the following steps may prevent the disease: control of blood glucose levels, if the person has diabetescontrol of high blood pressurea heart-healthy dietregular exercisemonitoring and treating cholesterol as neededsmoking cessation as needed
Diagnosis of atheroembolic renal disease begins with a medical history and physical exam.
Tests used to confirm the diagnosis may include the following: blood testsnuclear medicine kidney scans with or without the use of a medicine called captopril (i.e., Capoten)renal angiography, which is an X-ray test that uses contrast agent to show the inside of the arteriesultrasound of the kidneya special X-ray test called spiral CT
Long-standing high blood pressure can cause heart attacks, strokes, and death. Untreated atheroembolic disease may also cause kidney failure. Blood clots can rupture, causing dramatic blood loss. This may lead to shock, and even death.
Atheroembolic disease is not contagious and poses no risk to others.
Anticoagulant (blood-thinning), or in some cases thrombolytic (clot-busting) medication, such as streptokinase or urokinase, is sometimes given in the hope of dissolving the clot.
If this fails to work, other options include: angioplasty, a procedure in which the narrowed artery is opened through a narrow tubesurgery to reconstruct the arterysurgery to remove the plaque from the arterysurgery to replace the artery with an artificial graftsurgery to remove the clot or the kidney
A renal artery aneurysm is only treated if it is large or if it is causing very high blood pressure. If the aneurysm is in a small branch of the artery, the branch may be removed. This will cause loss of that small portion of the kidney, but it will prevent other problems.
Thrombolytic medications can cause bleeding. Renal artery angioplasty may result in persistent bleeding or an infection. Kidney damage can occur but is rare. Surgery may be complicated by bleeding, infection, or reactions to anesthesia.
Most people will be able to resume their normal activities shortly after treatment.
Blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels will be monitored as needed. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.