Acute arterial occlusion – kidney

Alternative Names

Acute renal arterial thrombosis; Renal artery embolism; Acute renal artery occlusion; Embolism – renal artery

Definition of Acute arterial occlusion – kidney

Acute arterial occlusion of the kidney is a sudden, severe blockage of the artery that supplies blood to the kidney.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The kidneys are very sensitive to the amount of blood that flows through them. Any reduction of blood flow through the renal artery can impair kidney function. If prolonged, a complete blockage of blood flow to the kidney often results in permanent kidney failure.


When one kidney doesn’t function, you may not have symptoms because the second kidney adequately filters the blood. Some people develop high blood pressure (hypertension), however.

Signs and tests

The doctor will likely not be able to identify the problem by simply examining you, unless you’ve had the disorder long enough to cause kidney failure.


Often, patients need no specific treatment. Blood clots may get better on their own over time.

Expectations (prognosis)

Damage caused by arterial occlusion may be temporary, but it is usually permanent.


Parul Patel, MD, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology and Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, Affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center, Department of Transplantation, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/20/2009

Kidney anatomy
Kidney - blood and urine flow
Kidney blood supply

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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