Fibromuscular Renal Artery Stenosis


Fibromuscular renal artery stenosis is a narrowing of the arteries that lead to the kidneys, also known as the renal arteries,  and occurs as part of the condition known as fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD).


The most common sign of fibromuscular renal artery stenosis is high blood pressure. The condition often goes undiagnosed, however, until imaging tests of the arteries are performed for a separate reason.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Tissue damage to the kidneys
  • Rarely, chronic kidney failure
  • Abnormal sound, known as a bruit, heard by physician when listening with a stethoscope around the patient’s abdomen
  • Severe abdominal pain, if an aneurysm or tear occurs in the affected arteries

Causes and Risk Factors

The cause of fibromuscular renal artery stenosis is not fully understood, and several theories have been proposed regarding possible causes, including smoking and genetic factors.

Although the condition has been observed in both men and women, women between the ages of 30 and 50 are at greater risk of developing the condition.


The only definitive method for diagnosing fibromuscular renal artery stenosis is through the use of imaging tests. A complete evaluation of the patient’s medical history and a physical exam are performed before ordering one or more of the following image tests:


There is no cure for fibromuscular renal artery stenosis. However, the symptoms can be managed through prescription medications and other therapies overseen by a knowledgeable medical team.

Patients with the condition are often prescribed medication to lower their high blood pressure. In some cases, such as resistant hypertension or declining kidney function, a percutaneous balloon angioplasty may be performed to widen the narrowing artery and improve blood flow. This procedure can result in better blood pressure control and improve blood circulation to the kidneys.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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