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Medicine (Baltimore). 1995 Nov;74(6):350-8.

Atheroembolic renal failure after invasive procedures. Natural history based on 52 histologically proven cases.

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Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


Atheromatous plaque material containing cholesterol crystals may dislodge and cause distal ischemia. To characterize atheroembolic renal failure, we retrospectively evaluated all patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital from 1981 to 1990 with both renal failure and histologically proven atheroembolism after angiography or cardiovascular surgery. Over the 10-year period, 52 patients were identified. They tended to be elderly men with a history of hypertension (81%), coronary artery disease (73%), peripheral vascular disease (69%), and current smoking (50%). Within 30 days of their procedure, only 50% of patients had cutaneous signs of atheroembolism, and 14% had documented blood eosinophilia. Urinalysis was often abnormal. Hemodynamically unstable patients died shortly after their procedure, yet renal function in the remainder continued to decline over 3 to 8 weeks. Patients who received dialysis had a higher baseline serum creatinine than those who did not (168 +/- 44 mumol/L versus 133 +/- 18 mumol/L, p = 0.02), with dialysis starting a median of 29 days after the procedure. Patients with renal failure due to atheroembolism alone, as opposed to multiple renal insults, were more likely to recover renal function (24% versus 3%, p = 0.03) and had a lower risk of death during the 6 months after their procedure (log-rank p = 0.002). Renal failure due to procedure-induced AE is characterized by a decline in renal function over 3 to 8 weeks. This time course is not consistent with most other iatrogenic causes of renal failure, such as radiocontrast or nephrotoxic medications, which present earlier and often resolve within 2 to 3 weeks after appropriate intervention.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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