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Am J Med. 1990 Jan;88(1N):46N-51N.

Prevalence of atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis in patients with atherosclerosis elsewhere.

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Department of Vascular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195.



To determine the prevalence of atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis in patients who have atherosclerosis elsewhere but lack the usual clinical clues to suggest renal artery stenosis.


The arteriograms and charts of 395 consecutive patients were prospectively reviewed by a member of the Vascular Medicine Department and a member of the Radiology Department. These patients underwent arteriography as part of the routine evaluation for abdominal aortic aneurysm (109 patients), aorto-occlusive disease (21 patients), lower-extremity occlusive disease (189 patients), and suspected renal artery stenosis (76 patients). Patients in the first three groups did not have the usual clues that suggest renal artery stenosis.


There was greater than 50% renal artery stenosis in 41 patients (38%) with abdominal aortic aneurysm, seven patients (33%) with aorto-occlusive disease, 74 patients (39%) with lower-extremity occlusive disease, and 53 patients (70%) with suspected renal artery stenosis. The prevalence of renal artery stenosis was similar in diabetic and nondiabetic patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm, aorto-occlusive disease, or suspected renal artery stenosis, but higher in diabetics with lower-extremity occlusive disease (50%) compared to nondiabetics with lower-extremity occlusive disease (33%) (p = 0.022). High-grade bilateral disease was present in approximately 13% of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm or lower-extremity occlusive disease, and totally occluded renal arteries occurred in 5% of the patients in these groups. There was an association between increasing degree of renal artery stenosis and the presence of hypertension and worsening of renal function.


Patients with atherosclerosis elsewhere, especially abdominal aortic aneurysm, aorto-occlusive disease, or lower-extremity occlusive disease, have a high prevalence of significant renal artery stenosis even in the absence of the usual clues to suspect renal artery stenosis. Diabetic patients have a similar prevalence as nondiabetic patients. This information may have important therapeutic implications in patients being considered for vascular surgery.

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