Renal artery stenosis occurs when a kidney (renal) artery narrows. This causes a decrease in blood flow to that kidney. The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs. They filter and remove waste from the blood. Stenosis is narrowing that restricts an opening.
The Kidney and Its Main Blood Vessels
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Each kidney regulates the body’s blood pressure to make sure that each organ has enough oxygenated blood. This happens by activating the renin-angiotensin hormone system.
Renal artery stenosis triggers the release of these hormones. This release causes hypertension (high blood pressure). Since hypertension is a leading cause of strokes and heart attacks, this is a serious condition that requires diagnosis and treatment.
Renal artery stenosis can eventually lead to loss of renal function. However, since one kidney can perform adequately by itself, both kidneys would have to be affected for kidney failure to occur. Both renal arteries are involved 30% of the time.
There are several diseases of arteries that can cause them to become narrowed, including:
- Atherosclerosis (the most common)
- Fibromuscular dysplasia
Last reviewedOctober 2012by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.