RICHARD K. LESSMAN, M.D.; STEVEN F. JOHNSON, M.D.; JACK W. COBURN, M.D., F.A.C.P.; JOSEPH J. KAUFMAN, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Spontaneous renal artery embolism is not rare, but a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment are often delayed. Clinical features and follow-up of 17 cases are reported. Cardiac disease or arrhythmias pre-existed in 16 patients. Initial symptoms included flank pain (seven cases), abdominal or chest pain alone (seven), and nausea and vomiting (eight). Fever (≥ 37.5 °C) occurred in 10 cases and flank tenderness in only eight. Laboratory findings included leukocytosis, proteinuria, hematuria, and elevated levels of lactic dehydrogenase, serum glutamic-oxalacetic transaminase, serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase, and alkaline phosphatase. Serum creatinine level exceeded 1.3 mg/dl in 88% and 4.0 mg/dl in 65%; four patients required dialysis. The diagnosis, made by scintiscan, arteriography, or both was often delayed. Renal embolization was bilateral in seven patients and unilateral in 10, with serum creatinine level above 4.0 mg/dl in five of the latter. Emboli to other organs caused early death; cardiovascular disease led to later death. With anticoagulants, renal function returned in patients surviving more than 1 month, even those with bilateral emboli. Thus, renal embolism is recognizable if the disease is considered, and a favorable outcome is common with long-term anticoagulants.
LESSMAN RK, JOHNSON SF, COBURN JW, et al. Renal Artery Embolism: Clinical Features and Long-Term Follow-up of 17 Cases. Ann Intern Med. 1978;89:477–482. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-89-4-477
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1978;89(4):477-482.
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