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What is the most common indication for a renal artery duplex examination?

Renal artery duplex by Mintmedical

A renal artery duplex examination is a type of vascular ultrasound that focuses on the renal arteries. The renal arteries supply blood to the kidneys, and renal artery exams can help diagnose conditions that may lead to kidney failure.

The most common indication for a renal artery ultrasound exam is hypertension, or high blood pressure. Specifically, sudden onset or worsening of high blood pressure is a cause for concern. If you exhibit these symptoms your doctor may recommend a renal artery ultrasound exam. This exam could help diagnose serious conditions such as renal artery stenosis (narrowing of the renal arteries). Renal artery stenosis can be caused by plaque buildup or fibromuscular dysplasia, a condition in which the muscle of the artery wall doesn’t grow properly.

There are several risk factors for renal artery stenosis other than high blood pressure. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Tobacco use

A renal artery duplex ultrasound examination can help to diagnos renal artery stenosis by providing doctors with images of what is happening inside the arteries. A duplex ultrasound is a type of Doppler ultrasound that uses soundwaves to create color images of what is going on inside the body. Doppler technology can show the blood flow and direction within the arteries, and a duplex Doppler ultrasound also shows images of the tissues surround the arteries.

With this ultrasound technology, Registered Vascular Technologists can perform fast, accurate examinations that provide doctors with the information they need to make a diagnosis and informed treatment plan.