Role of duplex scanning for the detection of atherosclerotic renal artery disease. To assess the accuracy of renal artery duplex scanning for the purpose of diagnosing atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis, we compared the findings of renal arteriograms to the results of duplex scanning in 41 patients. Using an increase of renal artery peak systolic flow velocity of greater than 180 cm/sec, duplex scanning was able to discriminate normal from diseased renal arteries with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 90%. Using the principle that blood flow velocity across a stenosis is roughly proportional to the degree of stenosis, it appeared that a ratio of the peak velocity in the renal artery to the aorta (RAR) of greater 3.5 predicted a greater than 60% diameter reduction of that renal artery, which is felt to be a significant stenosis. Forty-eight vessels were classified as having a greater than 60% diameter reduction by arteriography. Using the RAR of greater than 3.5, duplex scanning agreed in 44 renal arteries (sensitivity 92%). In the 26 renal arteries where arteriography showed a less than 60% diameter reduction, duplex scanning agreed in 16 vessels and correctly detected a focal narrowing in nine of the remaining ten vessels. Ten of 11 occluded renal arteries were correctly identified by duplex scanning. Duplex scanning determined the location of the renal artery lesion with an accuracy of 95% (kappa 0.74). Since duplex scanning can accurately demonstrate and locate focal renal artery stenosis, we believe it may become an accurate screening test for renovascular hypertension. A renal artery velocity increase to greater than 180 cm/s is an accurate predictor of renal artery disease, and a RAR of greater than 3.5 is an accurate predictor of a significant renal artery stenosis.
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