Renovascular Hypertension


Renovascular hypertension is a form of high blood pressure.

The Kidney and its Main Blood Vessels

Renal Artery
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The kidneys control blood pressure. If blood cannot get to the kidneys, certain hormones get out of balance. The imbalance makes the blood pressure higher.

Blood flow can be disrupted by:

  • Atherosclerosis —Plaque builds up and blocks blood flow.
  • Fibromuscular dysplasia—Muscle and tissue thicken on the artery wall and harden into rings. The rings block blood flow.
  • Renal artery stenosis —Kidney’s arteries become narrow.
  • Structural problems—Some may be present at birth.

High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.

Risk Factors

Risk is higher if you:

  • Are over 60 years old
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have blocked blood vessels
  • Have diabetes
  • Smoke
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Or someone in your family has kidney or heart problems


Most people don't have symptoms. If they appear, you may have:

  • High blood pressure—can be hard to control
  • Pain in your back or side
  • Blood in your urine
  • Breathing problems from fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Weight gain
  • Fluid buildup in your legs, ankles, or feet


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You may also have:


Care involves lowering blood pressure. This will help lower stress on the kidneys. Care may involve:

  • Quitting smoking, getting routine exercise, or eating better foods
  • Medicines to lower blood pressure
  • Surgery such as:
    • Percutaneous angioplasty—using a balloon or stent to open the artery
    • Bypass—rebuilding a blood vessel by going around the block
    • Remove one or both kidneys— nephrectomy


To help keep your kidneys healthy:

  • Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking.
  • Stay in a healthy weight range.
  • If you have a health problem that harms your kidneys, follow your care plan.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Society for Vascular Surgery


The Kidney Foundation of Canada


Renal artery stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated September 8, 2017. Accessed June 12, 2018.
Renovascular conditions. Society for Vascular Surgery website. Available at Accessed June 12, 2018.
Renovascular disease. Patient website. Available at Updated March 11, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2016.
Renovascular hypertension. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated February 2018. Accessed June 12, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD