If you have kidney (renal) artery disease that is not improving with lifestyle changes and medications, then your doctor may recommend endovascular or surgical procedures to treat blockages in your kidney arteries. Both types of treatment can restore blood flow to your kidneys. When blood flow is restored, kidney function improves and the high blood pressure caused by a blocked kidney artery may be lowered. After treatment of a kidney artery, you may still have high blood pressure, but you may need less medication to control it.
An endovascular procedure is performed inside the blood vessels through the use of a small, flexible tube, called a catheter. An endovascular procedure is performed by a doctor who has had special endovascular training. Kidney (renal) artery disease can be treated by a number of specialists, including interventional cardiologists, vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists and vascular medicine specialists.
There are a number of endovascular procedures that may be recommended for the treatment of kidney (renal) artery stenting, but the most common is renal artery angioplasty and stenting This procedure has been used for decades to treat blocked arteries to the heart to restore blood flow and prevent or stop chest pain, heart attack and stroke.
To learn more about renal artery angioplasty and stenting, click here.
Surgery for Kidney (Renal) Artery Disease
Surgeons use one of two surgical procedures to treat kidney artery disease:
- Endarterectomy, in which the surgeon removes the inner lining of the renal artery (as well as the plaque that causing the blockage)
- Bypass surgery, in which the surgeon creates a detour (bypass) around the portion of the artery that is blocked or narrowed. This provides a channel for blood to continue to flow to the kidneys. During the surgery, a vein taken from another part of your body or a tube made of man-made materials is attached above and below the blockage to create the detour. Bypass surgery to treat kidney artery disease is a complicated procedure that is rarely used.
Treatment - Not a Cure
Remember, medications and procedures do not cure kidney artery disease because plaque continues to accumulate in our arteries throughout our lives. Arteries can become blocked again after they have been treated. If you feel pain after you have been treated, call your doctor. A second procedure may be needed to treat the artery again.