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Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2008 Oct;15(4):355-62. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2008.07.004.

Renal artery stenosis and chronic ischemic nephropathy: epidemiology and diagnosis.

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  • 1University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, USA.


Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (RAS) is the most common primary disease of the renal arteries and results in renovascular hypertension and ischemic nephropathy. Ischemic nephropathy from atherosclerotic RAS is increasingly recognized as a cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and in severe cases can lead to end-stage renal disease. The exact prevalence of atherosclerotic RAS is unknown because the disease is often asymptomatic and few are screened unless they have significant traditional cardiac risk factors or symptoms. A high prevalence of atherosclerotic RAS is seen in patients with advanced age, congestive heart failure, and extrarenal atherosclerosis. The primary reason for diagnosing ischemic nephropathy from renovascular disease is that the loss of kidney function is potentially reversible through treatment of the occlusion with surgical revascularization or percutaneous transluminal renal angioplasty. However, the benefits of revascularization have to be considered in the context of other comorbid disease and remain controversial. There are several tests available for the screening and diagnosis of atherosclerotic RAS; however, the diagnostic test of choice should be based on patient factors and institutional expertise because the best test is the one performed most often at the individual medical facility.

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