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Renal Artery Disease

Renal Artery Disease (RAD) is the accumulation of fat and cholesterol along the walls of the renal artery causing partial blockage, and complicates into uncontrolled hypertension, Congestive Heart Failure and Renal Failure, if left untreated.

Symptoms of Renal Artery Disease

Mild Renal Artery disease may be asymptomatic, but advance cases of hypertension with heart and kidney failure may result in the following symptoms.

  • Hypertension
  • Edema (abdominal)
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dyspnea, difficulty breathing


The following diagnostic tests may aid the physician in the diagnosis of Renal Artery Disease following a comprehensive Q and A session.

Renal Function Test – The determination of serum levels of creatinine in the blood will show the levels of kidney functionality. The creatinine-protein ratio may also show a more accurate picture of renal function, with the protein usually exuded in impaired renal functions.

Serologic Test – To test for autoimmune diseases and anti-nuclear antibodies found in Systemic Lupus vasculitis which may also cause RAD.

Renal Scan – An Ultrasound of the Kidney using metered sound waves will reveal renal contractions evident in renal failure and the condition of the renal arteries.

Magnetic Resonance Angiogram – This magnetic field enhanced imaging test may show actual blood flow to the renal arteries. The angiogram may be performed with or without a dye.

Computed Tomography Angiogram – Multiple shots of X-Ray will reveal a 3 dimensional image of the kidneys and the renal arteries. The use of dyes may help elucidate the vessels and isolate blockades.

Possible Misdiagnosis?

Chronic Glomerulonephritis may also present with hypertension and signs of renal failure, however, a renal biopsy will reveal its nephritic etiology easily. Essential hypertension relative to increased peripheral vascular pressure may also be mistaken as renal artery disease. Metabolic conditions like Azotemia and Uremia may also reveal signs of renal failure, but may be reversed when metabolic conditions are altered.

Treatment for RAD

The success of Renal Artery Disease treatment may depend, in part, on how healthy lifestyle modifications are implemented. The following treatment methods are popularly applied for Renal Artery Disease.

Medications – The aim of the medications in Renal Artery Disease is to delay its progression. Anti-hypertensive medications may control hypertension and delay complications. Statins may be afforded to reduce cholesterol plaque deposits. Anti-platelet medication prevents blood clot formation which may otherwise impede renal blood flow.

Balloon Angioplasty with stent – The stenosed renal vessel may have a cardiac catheter inserted that has an inflatable balloon which may widen the constricted vessel. Stents may be left behind to allow for unimpeded flow of blood through the diseased vessel.


Renal Artery Disease should be seen as a progressive disease which is likely to worsen over time. For unknown reasons, women progress faster than man with this renal disease. Efforts to slow down progression are the only interventions available, like lifestyle modifications, such as quitting smoking and a healthy diet. The regular follow up with the nephrologist may greatly improve disease prognosis.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.