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Presse Med. 2009 Apr;38(4):621-6. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2009.01.008. Epub 2009 Feb 13.

[Renal artery stenosis : atheromatous disease and fibromuscular dysplasia].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service de néphrologie-immunologie clinique, Hôpital Bretonneau, Université François Rabelais, CHU Tours, F-37044 Tours, France.


Renal artery stenosis may be due to atheromatous disease or renal fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD). Management of both diseases requires treatment of hypertension usually observed in such patients; however, clinical presentation, mechanism and treatment of these 2 diseases are usually different. Renal FMD is now considered as a systemic disease, the cause of which may be genetic (although the exact cause is still elusive). Renal arteries are the most frequent localizations of FMD, but extra renal arteries may also be involved (usually carotid arteries). Risk factors of hypertension-induced renal FMD include estrogen treatment and smoking. Renal FMD are mostly found in young women and in children who present with recent severe and/or refractory symptomatic hypertension. Diagnosis is usually easy (Doppler, CT-scan), and treatment of renal FMD is angioplasty in most cases. Atheromatous renal artery stenosis is usually found in patients with other atheromatous disease (peripheral artery disease, carotid, coronary artery disease...). Clinical presentation include severe or refractory hypertension, recurrent flash pulmonary edema in a patient with hypertension, progressive renal dysfunction spontaneously or after medical treatment with converting-enzyme inhibition or angiotensin II blockade, hypertension in a patient (usually smoker or ex-smoker) with diffuse atheromatous vascular disease. Management of atheromatous renal artery disease is medical treatment in all patients (aggressive treatment of cardiovascular risk factors, control of arterial pressure); revascularization is required in some patients only since it rarely cures hypertension: the goal of revascularization is mostly renal function protection, which may be observed in selected patients. Revascularization must be decided by physicians or teams involved in the care of such patients. Patients with atheromatous renal artery disease are at very high renal and cardiovascular risk : aggressive management of cardiovascular risk factors is crucial.

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