How is renal (kidney) artery disease treated?

Patients whose symptoms are mild to moderate can often manage their disease by making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and working with their doctors to take care of related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Doctors often use minimally invasive procedures such as balloon angioplasty and stenting to relieve the narrowing and improve blood supply to the kidney and intestines.

Balloon angioplasty: During angioplasty, a special catheter that has a small balloon at the end, is inserted through an artery in the groin and guided to the narrowed segment of the artery. When the catheter reaches the blockage, the balloon is inflated to widen the narrowed artery.

Stenting: A stent is a small tube that holds open the artery at the site of the blockage.

Traditional Surgery

If renal or mesenteric artery disease is very advanced, or if blockages develop in an artery that is difficult to reach with a catheter, arterial bypass surgery may be necessary to restore blood flow.

Arterial Bypass Surgery: A bypass graft is made of synthetic material or a natural vein taken from another part of the body. One end of a bypass graft is attached to a point above the blockage and the other end to a point below it. The blood supply is then diverted through the graft, around the blockage, to bypass the diseased section of the artery.

Dialysis: During dialysis, a patient's blood is passed through an external filter (a hemodialyzer) that performs some of the functions of the kidney: removing wastes, excess fluids, and salts from the blood and correcting levels of specific chemicals.

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