Visceral & Renal Artery Stenosis

Visceral and Renal Artery Stenosis Overview

Visceral artery stenosis is the narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the intestines, spleen, and liver. The narrowing of arteries is caused by plaque build-up and results in reduced blood-flow to the organs. The most common type of visceral artery disease is chronic mesenteric ischemia, which is a lack of blood-flow to the intestines. This condition may cause pain after meals and could result in weight loss.

Renal artery stenosis is the narrowing of either or both renal arteries, which are blood vessels that carry blood to the kidneys from the aorta. The aorta is the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart through arteries all over the body. The primary cause of renal artery stenosis is atherosclerosis – narrowing, clogging, and hardening of the arteries. This condition develops when plaque collects within the inner wall of one or both renal arteries. Another cause of renal artery stenosis might be fibromuscular dysplasia, which is the abnormal development or growth of cells on the renal artery walls.

There are several risk factors for renal artery stenosis:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Insulin resistance
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diet high in cholesterol, fat, sugar, and sodium
  • Males older than 45 or females older than 55
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Physical inactivity

Learn more about symptoms and treatment below.

Symptoms of Renal Artery Stenosis

  • More or less urination
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Generalized itching or numbness
  • Edema (swelling in the legs, feet, or ankles)
  • Headaches
  • Sleep issues
  • Weight loss
  • Dry skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble focusing
  • Darker skin
  • Muscle cramps

Complications of this condition, as a result of decreased kidney function or narrowing arteries, include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Stroke
  • End-stage renal disease (kidney failure)

Treatment Options

  • Diagnostic ultrasound and arteriography
  • Endovascular treatment (angioplasty, stents)
  • Open bypass surgery
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