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Overview of Blood Vessel Disorders of the Kidneys


Zhiwei Zhang

, MD, Loma Linda University School of Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Mar 2023
Topic Resources

Blood flow to the kidneys needs to be intact for the kidneys to function properly. Any interruption of or reduction in the blood flow can cause kidney damage or dysfunction and, if long-standing, increased blood pressure (hypertension High Blood Pressure High blood pressure (hypertension) is persistently high pressure in the arteries. Often no cause for high blood pressure can be identified, but sometimes it occurs as a result of an underlying... read more High Blood Pressure ). When blood flow in the arteries supplying the kidneys is completely blocked, the entire kidney or a portion of the kidney supplied by that artery dies (kidney infarction). Kidney infarction can lead to the inability of the kidneys to process and excrete the body's waste products (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 ).

Kidney's Blood Supply

Kidney's Blood Supply
The Kidneys

Blood vessel disorders of the kidneys have a number of causes, including blockages in the renal arteries Blockage of the Renal Arteries Gradual narrowing (stenosis) or sudden, complete blockage (occlusion) may affect arteries that supply the right or the left kidney, their branches, or a combination. Kidney failure or high blood... read more or veins Renal Vein Thrombosis Renal vein thrombosis is blockage of the renal vein, which carries blood away from the kidney, by a blood clot. The clot can damage the kidney. Symptoms may be minimal unless the clot develops... read more , inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis Overview of Vasculitis Vasculitic disorders are caused by inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis). Vasculitis can be triggered by certain infections or drugs or can occur for unknown reasons. People may have... read more Overview of Vasculitis ), injury to the kidneys or blood vessels, and other disorders. For example, systemic sclerosis Systemic Sclerosis Systemic sclerosis is a rare, chronic autoimmune connective tissue disorder characterized by degenerative changes and scarring in the skin, joints, and internal organs and by blood vessel abnormalities... read more Systemic Sclerosis (scleroderma) and sickle cell anemia can affect the kidneys, sometimes leading to chronic kidney disease Chronic Kidney Disease Chronic kidney disease is a slowly progressive (months to years) decline in the kidneys’ ability to filter metabolic waste products from the blood. Major causes are diabetes and high blood pressure... read more . Systemic sclerosis that affects the kidneys can also cause a hypertensive emergency Classification of blood pressure Classification of blood pressure (malignant hypertension). Blood vessel disorders of the kidneys are divided into the following topics:

More Information

The following English-language resources may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

  • American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP): AAKP improves the lives of patients through education, advocacy, and promotion of a sense of community among patients with kidney disease.

  • American Kidney Fund (AKF): AKF provides information about kidney disease and kidney transplant, needs-based financial assistance to help manage medical expenses, webinars for medical professionals, and opportunities for advocacy.

  • National Kidney Foundation (NKF): This clearinghouse provides everything from information on the basics of kidney function to access to treatment and support for people with kidney disease, continuing medical education courses, and research opportunities and grant support for medical professionals.

  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK): General information on kidney diseases, including research discoveries, statistics, and community health and outreach programs.

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