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Stenting for atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis: Another nail in the coffin

Posted Nov 26 2013 12:00am
Despite a lack of strong evidence, angioplasty and stenting of atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (RAS) became a common intervention in the last decade. It was often performed on incidental lesions discovered  during “drive-by” angiography in cardiac procedures. In the last few years, enthusiasm has cooled as two randomized trials; the ASTRAL and STAR trials have failed to show any benefit of the procedure.The ASTRAL trial received significant criticism in some corners of the medical press –as headlines like this show! 
The CORAL trial recently reported in the NEJM has added to the weight of evidence against the procedure. It included 947 patients with either systolic hypertension >155mmHg on two agents or an eGFR <60ml/min and RAS of >80% or >60% with a pressure gradient > 20mmHg. All patients received, amlodipine, atorvastatin, and candesartan +/- hydroclorothiazide.

In short there was no difference in the primary and composite endpoints of Death, MI, Stroke, heart failure, progression of CKD and need for RRT. The only exception was for that of BP in which a significant but minor (2mmHg) drop in the intervention arm.

This is another large, RCT demonstrating a lack of benefit or renal artery stenting, therefore for the vast majority of patients with RAS and either hypertension or CKD, management of RAS should be limited to medical therapy.
There remains uncertainty around patient groups in which their may still be benefit such as those with severe stenosis to a single functioning kidney, severe stenosis and AKI and patients flash pulmonary oedema. It is hard to imagine recruitment of these groups in numbers sufficient to adequately power a clinical trial.

Posted by Jonathan Dick

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