Complementary roles of color-flow duplex imaging and intravascular ultrasound in the diagnosis of renal artery fibromuscular dysplasia: should renal arteriography serve as the "gold standard"?

Manohar S Gowda, Audrey L Loeb, Linda J Crouse, Paul H Kramer
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2003 April 16, 41 (8): 1305-11

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to compare color-flow duplex imaging (CFDI), intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), and renal arteriography in diagnosing renal artery (RA) fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) and correlating with the hemodynamic response to balloon angioplasty (BA) in patients with drug-resistant hypertension.

BACKGROUND: Renal arteriography is generally regarded as the gold standard for diagnosing RA FMD. The observation that CFDI and IVUS depicted endoluminal abnormalities suggestive of RA FMD in some patients with normal renal arteriograms prompted comparison of these modalities in a consecutive series of patients.

METHODS: Twenty hypertensive patients with CFDI suggestive of RA FMD (mid-to-distal flow derangement and velocity augmentation) underwent renal arteriography, IVUS, and BA, with both immediate and long-term blood pressure (BP) response assessment.

RESULTS: All patients were women, aged 31 to 86 years (mean 62 years). On IVUS, various endoluminal defects (eccentric ridges; fluttering membranes; spiraling folds) were depicted at locations predicted by CFDI and were uniformly identified at sites where arteriography depicted classic evidence of FMD (8 patients). However, similar defects were detected by IVUS when angiography was borderline (7 patients) or normal (5 patients). Balloon angioplasty eliminated (16 patients) or reduced (4 patients) the IVUS findings and lowered systolic BP in all (mean reduction 53 mm Hg, p < 0.0001). This reduction was maintained during follow-up of 4 to 22 (mean 13) months (mean reduction 44 mm Hg, p < 0.0001), independent of baseline angiographic appearance.

CONCLUSIONS: Both CFDI and IVUS depict the blood flow and endoluminal abnormalities of RA FMD. Balloon angioplasty eliminates or improves IVUS findings and produces substantial, sustained BP reduction, an effect that is independent of baseline arteriographic appearance, calling into question the legitimacy of arteriography as the diagnostic gold standard.

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