Renovascular hypertension

C. V S Ram, G. P. Clagett, L. R. Radford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Renovascular hypertension is one of the more common causes of secondary hypertension. The true prevalence of this condition is not known, because only a selected few with hypertension are considered for thorough diagnostic work-up. The higher incidence figures come from centers with a special interest in this disease. The ability of a clinician to detect renovascular hypertension has improved substantially, thanks to the advances in radiology. The predominant mechanism of blood pressure elevation from renal ischemia is activation of the renin-angiotensin system. Clinically, the pathological lesions that cause renal artery stenosis are atherosclerosis and fibromuscular dysplasia; the former is typically seen in older men, and the latter is typically found in young women. Suspicion of the presence of renovascular disease should prompt the physician to obtain appropriate screening and confirmatory tests. Once diagnosed, the management of patients with renovascular hypertension requires a carefully planned multidisciplinary approach to offer the patient a best possible therapeutic option, with surgical revascularization or balloon angioplasty, or chronic medical therapy. However, these options are not mutually exclusive. The best long- term results are obtained with surgical therapy. Although balloon angioplasty is being increasingly used perhaps as the preferred initial therapeutic procedure for many patients with renal artery stenosis, long-term results comparable with surgery are not yet available. The ideal rational therapy for patients with renal artery stenosis is reperfusion of the ischemic kidney either by surgical correction or by balloon dilation. The aim is not only to improve the blood pressure control, but also to prevent and at times to reverse renal failure. Although effective antihypertensive drugs have become available, the role of medical management of renovascular hypertension is shrinking and should be limited to patients who have contraindications to or unwilling to undergo corrective procedures to relieve renal ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-174
Number of pages23
JournalSeminars in nephrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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