Plaque, a wax-like material made up largely of cholesterol and calcium, can accumulate on the inside walls of arteries. The build-up narrows the arteries, decreasing blood flow through these vessels. When narrowing occurs in the arteries supplying blood to the intestines or kidneys, less blood carrying oxygen and nutrients reaches those organs.
These include a family history of hardening of the arteries (artherosclerosis), high blood pressure, tobacco use, diabetes, high cholesterol, and advanced age.
Kidney (renal) artery disease can also be caused by Fibromuscular Dysplasia, a genetic defect, which involves overgrown tissue within the artery that blocks blood flow.
Narrowing of the kidney (renal) arteries can cause persistent high blood pressure. It can also cause kidney failure.
Narrowing of the intestinal (mesenteric) arteries can lead to unexplained weight loss and extreme abdominal pain when eating due to lack of blood flow, which is called intestinal ischemia. It can even lead to gangrene (tissue death).
One or more of these imaging tests is used to discover the location and degree of narrowing in the artery: duplex ultrasound; angiography; magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and CT scan.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE TECHNIQUES
- Balloon Angioplasty and Stenting: A tiny balloon guided into the blocked artery inflates, pushing plaque against the walls and increasing blood flow. A metal tube (stent) remains in the vessel and keeps it wide open.
- Arterial Bypass Surgery: Blood is redirected through a grafted blood vessel to bypass the blood vessel that is damaged. A graft may be a healthy natural vein or artery, or it may be man-made.
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