What is renal artery stenosis (RAS)?

Updated: Nov 02, 2020
  • Author: Bruce S Spinowitz, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Renal artery stenosis (RAS) is the major cause of renovascular hypertension and may account for 1-10% of the 50 million cases of hypertension in the United States population. [1] See the image below.

Renal artery stenosis/renovascular hypertension. F Renal artery stenosis/renovascular hypertension. Flush aortogram in a 32-year-old man with familial hypercholesterolemia and difficult-to-control hypertension. Radiograph shows a complete occlusion of the right renal artery and marked stenosis of the left renal artery (arrow).

Apart from its role in the pathogenesis of hypertension, renal artery stenosis is also being increasingly recognized as an important cause of chronic kidney insufficiency and end-stage kidney disease. In older individuals, atherosclerosis is by far the most common etiology of renal artery stenosis. [2, 3]  Fibromuscular dysplasia may also cause renal artery stenosis, especially in females younger than 50 years. [4] As the renal artery lumen progressively narrows, kidney blood flow decreases. Eventually, the decreased perfusion compromises kidney function and structure.

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