Renal Arterial Doppler Study
Renal Artery Stenosis (RAS) is when the arteries supplying blood to the kidneys narrow down. The renal arteries bring oxygen-rich blood to your kidneys, helping them eliminate waste and excess fluid from your body.
RAS-related signs and symptoms include:
- Persisting high blood pressure (hypertension) despite taking timely medicines to reduce hypertension.
- Decreased or abnormal kidney function.
- Fluid retention in the body.
- Edema (swelling) in your ankles and feet in particular.
- Increased protein levels in the urine.
- Treatment-resistant heart failure.
- Bruit sound in your blood vessels.
Visit your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms.
Your doctor can start with the following steps to diagnose renal artery stenosis:
- A physical examination to detect bruit sounds that indicate the narrowing of your kidney artery using a stethoscope.
- A review of medical history.
- Urine and blood analysis to assess how your kidney is functioning.
- Blood and urine tests to assess the hormone levels that influence blood pressure.
Causes of RAS include:
- A build-up of fatty substances and cholesterol.
- A less common cause- fibromuscular dysplasia.
Imaging tests to diagnose renal artery stenosis include:
- Doppler Ultrasound: The test uses high-frequency sound waves to enable your doctor to view the arteries and kidneys, examine their function, and detect the presence and severity of blockages in the blood vessels.
- CT Scan: Here, an X-ray machine connected to a computer creates detailed cross-sectional images of the renal arteries. A dye injection can be added to illustrate the blood flow.
- Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA): MRA creates comprehensive 3D images of the renal arteries and kidneys through radio waves and strong magnetic fields. A dye injection in the arteries can illustrate the blood vessels.
- Renal Arteriography: Through this kind of X-ray procedure, your doctor is able to detect the blockage in the renal arteries and occasionally unblock the narrowed section with a balloon or stent. Before the procedure, your doctor injects a dye into the renal arteries through a catheter to clearly show the arteries and blood flow.
Treatment for RAS can include lifestyle changes, medication, a procedure to restore blood flow to the kidneys, or a combination of treatments. These treatment methods include:
- Maintain a proper/healthy weight
- Avoid salt
- Quit smoking
- Minimize stress
- Moderate alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Diuretics, also known as water tablets
- Beta-blockers and alpha-beta-blockers
- Calcium channel blockers:
Your doctor can also prescribe aspirin and a cholesterol-lowering medicine in the case of atherosclerosis.
A procedure to restore blood flow through the renal artery and increase blood flow to the kidney may be prescribed for some individuals.
- Renal Angioplasty and Stenting: Keeps the vessel walls open and allows better blood flow.
- Bypass Renal Artery Surgery: Physicians graft a temporary blood vessel to the renal artery during a bypass operation. This will establish a new path for blood to enter the kidneys in case the angioplasty is unsuccessful.
Preparing for treatment
You may visit your general doctor, or you may be referred to a nephrologist or cardiologist.
If you need an affordable treatment of renal artery stenosis, contact us at North Atlanta Vascular and Vein Center. We provide high-quality treatments for vein diseases.
What can you do?
To prepare for treatment, you can:
- Write down all the symptoms
- List all the medications/supplements you take
- Share key medical information with your doctor
- Ask a family member or friend to accompany you
- Prepare a list of questions to ask
What to expect from your doctor?
Your doctor can ask the following questions:
- When did you begin to feel the signs symptoms?
- Are you a current or former smoker?
- Does something improve or worsen the symptoms?
- Have you measured your kidney function?
- Family history of high blood pressure or kidney failure