The kidneys receive blood supply by means of the renal arteries.
Narrowing of the renal arteries (stenosis or blockage) can lead to two problems:
- Very high blood pressure ( Renal Hypertension).
- Deterioration of kidney function ( Increase in Blood Creatine Levels).
- Renal artery stenosis is responsible for about 2 to 4 % of cases of severe hypertension.
Suspect renal hypertension if:
- The young patient below 25 yrs has hypertension
- The elderly patient develops hypertension after the age of 55 yrs
- Sudden drop of blood pressure on adding ACE inhibitor drugs ( eg. Enalapril, Lisinopril)
- Gradual deterioration of kidney function ( rise in BUN and Creatine)
Diagnosis of renal artery stenosis is nowadays fairly simple. Renal artery Doppler sonography will easily pick up this condition. Furthermore, in long-standing cases, the size of the affected kidney will be smaller.
Treatment of Renal artery stenosis is by balloon angioplasty and stenting. The procedure is fairly successful in not only decreasing the elevated blood pressure but also in preventing further kidney damage. The patient needs to stay only one night in the hospital for observation and can be discharged the next day.