Your kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that make urine (pee), balance your body’s water and mineral levels, and filter waste out of your blood.
The Urinary Tract
What is atheroembolic kidney disease?
Atheroembolic kidney disease is caused when tiny pieces of hard, fatty material in your arteries break off and block the small arteries that supply blood to your kidneys. Those broken-off pieces of hard, fatty material are called emboli.
Atheroembolic kidney disease can affect one or both kidneys
If both kidneys are severely affected, you can get kidney failure Overview of Kidney Failure Kidney failure is the inability of the kidneys to adequately filter metabolic waste products from the blood. Kidney failure has many possible causes. Some lead to a rapid decline in kidney function... read more
It's usually caused by surgery or a medical procedure on an artery
Kidney failure is detected by a blood test
Doctors can’t fix the kidney damage, but they'll try to prevent it from getting worse
You may need kidney dialysis Dialysis Dialysis is an artificial process for removing waste products and excess fluids from the body, a process that is needed when the kidneys are not functioning properly. There are a number of reasons... read more (a process to filter your blood when your kidneys aren’t able to do it)
What causes atheroembolic kidney disease?
When you have hardening of your arteries (atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis In people with atherosclerosis, patchy deposits of fatty material (atheromas or atherosclerotic plaques) develop in the walls of medium-sized and large arteries, leading to reduced or blocked... read more ), your arteries clog up with hard, fatty material. Pieces of this fatty material can break off and float in your blood until they get stuck in a small blood vessel. If enough of that material gets into blood vessels in one organ, that organ can fail.
Atheroembolic kidney disease most often happens after you have surgery or a procedure involving your aorta (the largest artery in your body). Pieces of fatty material stuck to the wall of your aorta can break off by accident during the procedure and travel to your kidneys. Sometimes the fatty material breaks off on its own.
The fatty material can also block blood vessels in other organs in your belly, such as your intestines or pancreas.
What are the symptoms of atheroembolic kidney disease?
You usually don't have any symptoms unless you get kidney failure Chronic Kidney Disease Your kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that produce urine. They're about the size of your fist and are in the back of your abdomen, near your spine. Kidneys balance your body’s water and mineral... read more . Symptoms of kidney failure include:
Feeling weak and tired
Feeling sick to your stomach
Being less hungry than usual
Feeling sleepy or confused
How can doctors tell if I have atheroembolic kidney disease?
Doctors may suspect atheroembolic kidney disease if routine blood or urine tests show your kidneys aren't working normally after you've had surgery or a procedure on your aorta. To know for sure, they'll sometimes do:
Kidney biopsy (remove a piece of your kidney tissue to look at under a microscope)
How do doctors treat atheroembolic kidney disease?
Doctors can't reverse the kidney damage, but they can treat you to help prevent more emboli with:
Medicine to prevent the buildup of more fatty material in your arteries
If your kidneys have been badly damaged, you may need:
Dialysis Dialysis Dialysis is an artificial process for removing waste products and excess fluids from the body, a process that is needed when the kidneys are not functioning properly. There are a number of reasons... read more (a machine filters your blood when your kidneys aren’t able to do it)