Noninvasive modalities, including duplex ultrasonography, renal scintigraphy, CT angiography and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), may usefully contribute to diagnosis and treatment planning in patients with suspected renal artery stenosis. Important technical developments have increased the accuracy and feasibility of MRA for the detection of renal artery stenosis. A number of different MRA techniques can be applied to the study of renal arteries, but contrast-enhanced MRA represents the most valuable approach; several studies corroborate the high diagnostic accuracy of this technique, especially for the detection of atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis. A combined MRA protocol, which might include angiographic information provided by contrast-enhanced technique in addition to renal flow information derived from phase-contrast imaging, could help in classifying patients appropriately. Limitations of renal MRA include low accuracy in the evaluation of renal fibromuscular dysplasia and in the assessment of patients who undergo stenting of the renal arteries. This review describes the MRA techniques applied to the study of renal artery stenosis, including the technical features of current approaches and forthcoming developments. An overview of the clinical role of MRA, in conjunction with the other diagnostic modalities, in the identification and management of patients with renal artery stenosis, is also presented.
- Magnetic resonance angiography
- Vascular disease