Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Renal Artery Disease

Most artery blockages occur because of atherosclerosis, a slow process in which deposits of fat, cholesterol and calcium—also known as plaque—build up inside an artery. When artery blockages occur in the renal arteries, the kidneys are unable to perform their job.

Fibromuscular dysplasia, abnormal tissue growth on the inside of the renal arteries, can also cause renal artery disease. Aneurysms, a weakened, bulging part of the artery, can also occur and result in rupture of the artery.

Risk factors

See your physician to help determine how to reduce risk factors for renal artery disease. These include:

  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure

Tests

Vascular specialists at Northwestern Medicine use advanced technologies to diagnose renal artery disease, including:

Meet the Renal Artery Disease Team

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.

Related Resources

  • Renal Scan (PDF): Learn about the preparations and care needed before and after this procedure. English | Spanish
  • Renal Imaging with Lasix┬«: Nuclear Medicine (PDF): Learn about the preparations and care needed before and after this procedure. English | Spanish