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J Vasc Surg. 2007 Jan;45(1):101-8; discussion 108-9.

The management of renal artery atherosclerosis for renal salvage: does stenting help?

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  • 1Department of Vascular Surgery, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



The use of endovascular techniques to treat renal artery stenosis (RAS) has increased in recent years but remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to review the outcomes and durability of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and stenting (PTA/S) for patients with RAS and decreasing renal function.


Between 1999 and 2004, 125 consecutive patients underwent angiography and intervention for renal salvage and formed the basis of this study. Inclusion criteria for this study included serum creatinine greater than 1.5 mg/dL, ischemic nephropathy, and high-grade RAS perfusing a single functioning kidney. Patients undergoing PTA/S for renovascular hypertension or fibromuscular dysplasia or in conjunction with endovascular stent grafting for aneurysm repair were excluded. The original angiographic imaging was evaluated for lesion grade and parenchymal kidney size. All medical records and noninvasive testing were reviewed. Preoperative and postoperative patient data were standardized and analyzed by using chi(2) tests for nominal values and t tests for continuous variables. The Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation was used to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR), and univariate analysis was performed.


Preoperative variables included the presence of coronary artery disease (93%), diabetes (44%), tobacco use (48%), and hypercholesterolemia (70%). RAS was suspected on the basis of preoperative duplex imaging or magnetic resonance angiography. Aortography and PTA/S were performed in 125 patients (mean age, 71 years; 59% male) with a mean baseline creatinine level of 2.2 mg/dL. There were two mortalities (1.6%) in the 30-day postoperative period, but there was no case of acute renal loss. Blood pressure decreased after PTA/S (151/79 mm Hg before vs 139/72 mm Hg after 1 month; P < .03). For all patients, the estimated GFR went from 33 +/- 12 mL . min(-1) . 1.73 m(-2) (mean +/- SD) to 37 +/- 19 mL . min(-1) . 1.73 m(-2) at 6 months (P = .10). Sixty-seven percent of treated patients had improvement (>10% increase in GFR) or stabilization of renal function. A rapid decline in GFR before intervention was correlated with improvement after PTA/S. Responders after PTA/S had a 27% decrease in GFR before intervention (44 +/- 13 mL . min(-1) . 1.73 m(-2) to 32 +/- 13 mL . min(-1) . 1.73 m(-2); P < .001) with a negative to positive slope change in GFR values. Ten patients underwent reintervention for in-stent restenosis. Cases without improvement in GFR after PTA/S were associated with eventual dialysis need (P = .01; mean follow-up, 19 months). Survival at 3 years was 76%, and dialysis-free survival was 63% as estimated by Kaplan-Meier analyses.


Renal artery stenoses causing renal dysfunction can be safely treated via endovascular means. Rapidly decreasing renal function is associated with the response to renal artery angioplasty/stenting and helps identify patients for renal salvage.

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