What is hypertension?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of blood against the artery wall (blood vessel) is consistently high. There are many medications available for controlling blood pressure but some forms of hypertension, such as renovascular hypertension impacting the kidneys, are resistant to medication and require different treatment. Renovascular hypertension occurs when the blood flow to the kidneys becomes blocked. When these blood vessels become narrowed, blood cannot easily get to the kidneys in order to remove salt and water. As a result, fluid build-up causes high blood pressure.
Symptoms of renovascular hypertension include high blood pressure at a young age, high blood pressure that suddenly gets worse or is hard to control, kidneys that are not working well (this can start suddenly), and narrowing of other arteries in the body, such as to the legs, the brain, the eyes and elsewhere.
How does IR treat renovascular hypertension?
Through a treatment called renal artery angioplasty and stenting, interventional radiologists can open up the narrowed renal arteries, restoring normal blood flow. Access to the blood vessel is gained through a single small incision rather than by an open invasive surgery.
The interventional radiologist guides a flexible tube, known as a catheter, with a tiny balloon to the diseased portion of the blood vessel. Once in position, the balloon is inflated to open the blockage. The balloon flattens the artery-clogging plaque against the blood vessel wall, allowing more blood to pass through. A stent (a fine mesh tube) can be inserted into the blood vessel as a scaffold to keep it open.
Disclaimer: This information is provided as a public service. IYA assumes no liability, legal, financial or otherwise for the accuracy of this information or the manner in which it is used. This information is being provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace professional medical advice from your physician or qualified health care professional.