Evidence-based medicine in renal artery stenting.
ABSTRACT Atherosclerotic renovascular disease is an increasingly recognized cause of severe hypertension and declining kidney function. Patients with atherosclerotic renovascular disease have been demonstrated to have an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events. Over the course of the last two decades renal artery revascularization for treatment of atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (RAS) has gained great increase via percutaneous techniques. However the efficacy of contemporary revascularization therapies in the treatment of renal artery stenosis is unproven and controversial. The indication for renal artery stenting is widely questioned due to a not yet proven benefit of renal revascularization compared to best medical therapy. Many authors question the efficacy of percutaneous renal revascularization on clinical outcome parameters, such as preservation of renal function and blood pressure control. None of the so far published randomized controlled trials could prove a beneficial outcome of RAS revascularization compared with medical management. Currently accepted indications for revascularization are significant RAS with progressive or acute deterioration of renal function and/or severe uncontrollable hypertension, renal function decline with the use of agents blocking the renin-angiotensin system and recurrent flash pulmonary edema. The key point for success is the correct selection of the patient. This article summarizes the background and the limitations of the so far published and still ongoing controlled trials.