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Nat Rev Nephrol. 2015 May;11(5):288-301. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2014.231. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Renal artery embolization-indications, technical approaches and outcomes.

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Department of Imaging, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Centre Hospitalier Lyon Sud, Pierre Bénite, F-69495, France.
Department of Urinary and Vascular Radiology, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, 5 place d'Arsonval, 69437 Lyon Cedex 03, France; Université de Lyon, Université Lyon 1, Faculté de Médcine Lyon Est, 69003 Lyon, France.


Owing to improvements in catheters and embolic agents, renal artery embolization (RAE) is increasingly used to treat nephrological and urological disease. RAE has become a useful adjunct to medical resuscitation in severe penetrating, iatrogenic or blunt renal traumatisms with active bleeding, and might avoid surgical intervention, particularly among patients that are haemodynamically stable. The role of RAE in pre-operative or palliative management of advanced malignant renal tumours remains debated; however, RAE is recommended as a first-line therapy for bleeding angiomyolipomas and can be used as a preventative treatment for angiomyolipomas at risk of bleeding. RAE represents an alternative to nephrectomy in various medical conditions, including severe uncontrolled hypertension among patients with end-stage renal disease, renal graft intolerance syndrome or autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. RAE is increasingly used to treat renal artery aneurysms or symptomatic renal arteriovenous malformations, with a low complication rate as compared with surgical alternatives. This Review highlights the potential use of RAE as an adjunct in the management of renal disease. We first compare and contrast the technical approaches of RAE associated with the various available embolization agents and then discuss the complications associated with RAE and alternative procedures.

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