- Things to Know
- Signs and Symptoms
- Causes & Risk Factors
- How to Prevent
Things to know about kidney angiomyolipoma
- Angiomyolipomas are benign tumors of the kidney and, rarely, other organs.
- The exact cause of angiomyolipoma is not known, but researchers suggest a genetic mutation may be responsible.
- Angiomyolipomas are related to the genetic disease of tuberous sclerosis.
- Signs and symptoms may not occur in many patients with benign angiomyolipomas; if they do occur, the following may be seen:
- Angiomyolipomas are usually diagnosed with the help of CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasound. Sometimes angiomyolipomas are found when the patient is being examined and tested for other medical problems.
- Treatment for angiomyolipomas may include drugs such as everolimus or embolization techniques. Some patients may require kidney removal.
- The prognosis for most benign angiomyolipomas is good, however, the prognosis decreases as the size of the benign tumor increases and the likelihood of bleeding over time increases.
- Although it's impossible to prevent angiomyolipomas, the risk of them becoming symptomatic and/or life-threatening can be reduced by drug and embolization techniques.
What is Kidney angiomyolipoma?
Angiomyolipomas are common benign (noncancerous) tumors of the kidney composed of three types of cells: vascular cells, immature smooth muscle cells, and fat cells. These benign tumors are mainly found in the kidney, but they can also be found occasionally in the liver, and rarely in the ovary, Fallopian tube, spermatic cord, palate, and colon.
Older medical literature may refer to angiomyolipomas as hamartomas or choristomas. This article will mainly describe angiomyolipoma as related to the kidneys although very infrequently, angiomyolipomas may occur in other organs.
What are angiomyolipoma symptoms and signs?
Most people with angiomyolipomas have no symptoms or signs. However, even though they are considered to be benign tumors, some can cause symptoms and signs in patients if the tumor becomes large and/or if the blood vessels in the angiomyolipoma leak blood (rupture).
In this case, the following symptoms and signs may occur:
What are angiomyolipoma causes and risk factors?
The exact cause of angiomyolipoma is not known. Researchers suggest that the cause of these benign tumors is a mutation in a common progenitor cell (for example, a stem cell that has the potential to develop into any of the three types of cells listed above). Angiomyolipoma tumors are associated with the inherited genetic disease tuberous sclerosis (a rare genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and other organs) and possibly associated with other syndromes like Sturge-Weber syndrome or neurofibromatosis. Animal experiments suggest that a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet may hasten the growth and development of angiomyolipoma tumors in rats, but it's unknown if such a diet will hasten angiomyolipoma tumor development in humans.
How do doctors diagnose angiomyolipoma?
The preliminary diagnosis of angiomyolipoma is usually done either incidentally while the patient is undergoing imaging tests for other reasons or directly by ultrasound, CT scan, and/or MRI scan. Urologists, radiologists, and emergency medicine physicians are often the first doctors to suspect and/or diagnose these tumors. In addition, ob-gyn doctors may find such tumors while doing ultrasound studies on pregnant females; angiomyolipoma bleeding problems are rare but possible in pregnancy.
What is the treatment for angiomyolipoma?
Angiomyolipoma can be treated by the drug everolimus (Afinitor) that works by blocking the human target of rapamycin (mTOR) protein to affect many processes involved in cell growth. Researchers suggest that even if asymptomatic, angiomyolipoma that grows to 3 cm or more in diameter should be treated. Another treatment is embolization (technique in which the blood vessels in an angiomyolipoma tumor are sealed off); this technique can be preventative and is suggested to be used in angiomyolipomas 4 cm in diameter or larger to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (vessel rupture). Patients with angiomyolipoma tumors that are small and asymptomatic should be routinely seen with follow-up visits and measurements of the angiomyolipoma tumor size as some may quickly develop a growth rate of up to about 4 cm per year.
What is the prognosis of angiomyolipoma?
In general, the prognosis of angiomyolipoma is good as long as the tumors don't have dilated blood vessels or grow rapidly. However, the prognosis decreases if the tumor becomes very large or compromises the kidney's function so that it may need to be removed or the patient may require dialysis. In addition, if the patient develops a hemorrhage, the prognosis, if the patient is not diagnosed and quickly treated, is fair to poor.
Is it possible to prevent angiomyolipoma?
Although it is not possible to prevent angiomyolipomas from developing, it is possible to reduce the possibility that they can cause serious problems. For example, asymptomatic angiomyolipoma can be treated before they have a chance to come symptomatic, thus preventing angiomyolipoma symptoms and signs.
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Top Angiomyolipoma Related Articles
CT Scan (Computerized Tomography)A CT scan is an X-ray procedure that combines many X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of internal organs and structures of the body. A CT scan is a low-risk procedure. Contrast material may be injected into a vein or the spinal fluid to enhance the scan.
DialysisDialysis is a procedure that performs many of the normal duties of the kidneys, like filtering waste products from the blood, when the kidneys no longer work adequately. There are two types of dialysis: Hemodialysis uses a filter to remove waste products and water from the body; and peritoneal dialysis removes excess waste and fluid with a fluid that is placed into the patient's stomach cavity through a special plastic tube.
Genetic DiseasesThe definition of a genetic disease is a disorder or condition caused by abnormalities in a person's genome. Some types of genetic inheritance include single inheritance, including cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Marfan syndrome, and hemochromatosis. Other types of genetic diseases include multifactorial inheritance. Still other types of genetic diseases include chromosome abnormalities (for example, Turner syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome), and mitochondrial inheritance (for example, epilepsy and dementia).
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
How Long Can You Live With a Kidney Transplant?According to studies, 1-year survival rates for kidney transplants range from 93%-98%, and 5-year survival rates range from 83%-92%.
Kidney Disease QuizKidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney disease and what foods to eat and avoid!
Kidney Health: Conditions That Affect Your KidneysYour kidneys help filter all the waste products your body builds up in its natural processes. Learn more from WebMD about the medical problems that can harm them.
Kidney Health: Warning Signs of Kidney ProblemsYour kidneys are your body's clearinghouse for toxins. Learn what swollen feet, muscle cramps, and other warning signs may signal about your kidneys' health.
Kidney PainKidney pain has a variety of causes and symptoms. Infection, injury, trauma, bleeding disorders, kidney stones, and less common conditions may lead to kidney pain. Symptoms associated with kidney pain may include fever, vomiting, nausea, flank pain, and painful urination. Treatment of kidney pain depends on the cause of the pain.
Kidneys PictureThe kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. See a picture of the Kidneys and learn more about the health topic.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan)MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique which uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. MRI scanning is painless and does not involve X-ray radiation. Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet.
Shock (Medical)What is shock? A life-threatening condition with symptoms like low blood pressure, weakness, shallow breathing, clammy skin, fainting, anxiety, confusion, and chest pain. Learn about causes, types, and treatment.
Surprising Things That Can Hurt Your KidneysYour kidneys do a lot for you. But are you helping or hurting them? Click through the WebMD quiz to find out how you might be damaging your kidneys without even knowing it.
UltrasoundUltrasound (and ultrasonography) is imaging of the body used in the medical diagnosis and screening of diseases and conditions such as:
- heart valve irregularities,
- carotid artery disease,
- heart disease,
- kidney stones,
- liver disease,
- diseases of the female reproductive, and
- diseases of the male reproductive organs.
Ways to Keep Your Kidneys HealthyYou might know that more than a drink or two a day is bad for your health. But in some cases, any alcohol at all may not be a great idea.
What Foods Help Repair Kidneys?If you have chronic kidney disease, it is crucial to track food and fluid intake because diseased kidneys can’t remove waste products from the body like healthy kidneys can. Good foods that help repair your kidneys include apples, blueberries, fish, kale, spinach and sweet potatoes.