Late onset azotemia from RAAS blockade in CKD patients with normal renal arteries and no precipitating risk factors

Macaulay A C Onuigbo, Nnonyelum T C Onuigbo
Renal Failure 2008, 30 (1): 73-80
Despite proven renoprotection from RAAS blockade and its increased application since the early 1990s, we have experienced an increasing CKD/ESRD epidemic, especially among U.S. diabetics. Consequently, some concerns regarding iatrogenic azotemia from RAAS blockade have surfaced. We hypothesized that susceptible CKD patients with normal renal arteries on conventional angiography, including MRA, but who have microvascular arteriolar narrowing in the renal circulation - mimicking large vessel renal artery stenosis, even without precipitating risk factors - could experience worsening azotemia after periods of time exceeding three months on stable doses of RAAS blockade. Between September 2002 and February 2005, as part of a larger prospective study of renal failure in CKD patients on RAAS blockade, we studied five patients with >25% higher serum creatinine and normal MRA without precipitating factors. RAAS blockade was discontinued. eGFR by MDRD was monitored. Five Caucasians (M:F = 1:4; age 68 years) were enrolled and followed-up at 29.6 months. The duration of RAAS blockade at enrollment was 34.6 months. The baseline eGFR had decreased from 28.4 +/- 7.1 to 17.0 +/- 7.4 ml/min/1.73 m(2) BSA (p < 0.001) at enrollment. One required temporary hemodialysis; no deaths occurred. eGFR increased from 17.0 +/- 7.4 to 24.6 +/- 9.5 ml/min/1.73 m(2) BSA (p = 0.009), 29.6 (20-43) months after stopping the RAAS blockade. We conclude that worsening azotemia occurs in susceptible CKD patients on stable doses of RAAS blockade after long periods of time, despite normal renal arteries without precipitating risk factors. We submit that microvascular renal arteriolar narrowing is the pathophysiologic mechanism. These observations call for further study.

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