Renal cholesterol emboli: A cause of hypertension in the elderly

R. A. Preston, B. J. Materson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Showers of cholesterol microemboli originating in the aorta can impact in the renal vascular bed and cause hypertension. It is almost always associated with acute or subacute renal failure as well. Although cholesterol microembolization can occur spontaneously, it is more often from an abdominal aortic aneurysm or a consequence of manipulation of diagnostic catheters within the aorta. We found 14 cases of cholesterol emboli out of 334 renal biopsies performed in patients ≥60 years old. Most had hypertension and renal failure. Other than removing the source of the emboli (e.g., an aortic aneurysm), there is no specific treatment for the manifestations of the embolic shower. Hypertension and renal failure must be treated by the usual means, but if gangrene ensues, the only option is to wait for it to demarcate and then perform the appropriate surgical procedure. The protean natures of the peripheral manifestations of cholesterol emboli makes it essential that they be recognized and that patients and their families be well informed as to the prognosis and lack of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-104
Number of pages4
JournalCardiovascular Risk Factors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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