Blockage- or stenosis- of the renal (kidney) arteries can lead to hypertension and progressive loss of kidney function. A common cause is atherosclerosis (hardening) of the arteries due to age, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, and other associated conditions.
In some patients, the blockage is due to Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD). FMD is a non-inflammatory, non-atherosclerotic disorder of medium sized arteries of unclear cause. Affected blood vessels demonstrate single or multiple areas of narrowing (stenosis). It most commonly involves the arteries to the kidneys resulting in high blood pressure, aneurysms, and occasionally splitting (dissection) of the vessel wall. The carotid and vertebral arteries to the brain are also frequently involved, which can lead to headache, pulsatile ringing in the ears, and stroke. Other presentations include involvement of the intestinal arteries leading to abdominal pain and aneurysms, arteries to the arms or legs resulting in cramping or heaviness with use, and heart arteries leading to heart attack. FMD is mostly seen in women, although men can have it as well.
Johns Hopkins has a team of physicians dedicated to the care and management of patients diagnosed with renal arterial disease and FMD in particular. This multidisciplinary team includes Nephrology, Vascular Medicine, Interventional Cardiology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Vascular Surgery.
The Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
601 N. Caroline St., 7th Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21287