Renal Artery Stenosis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 7/1/2020

Renal artery stenosis refers to a narrowing (stenosis) of the blood vessel that delivers blood to the kidney for filtration (the renal artery). This leads to a restriction of blood flow to the kidney, and particularly when the arteries to both kidneys are affected, may lead to impaired kidney function (renal failure) and high blood pressure (hypertension).

Renal artery stenosis typically does not cause specific signs or associated symptoms. Over time, it may cause problems related to declining kidney function such as

  • elevated protein levels in the urine or
  • other signs of abnormal kidney function.

Causes of renal artery stenosis

Most commonly, atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of blood vessel wall from the inside) causes renal artery stenosis. High cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes all increase the risk of atherosclerosis.

Other renal artery stenosis symptoms and signs

  • Abnormal Kidney Function
  • Elevated Protein Levels in the Urine


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.