Encyclopedia Home / A / Atheroembolic renal disease

Atheroembolic renal disease

  • Definition

    Atheroembolic renal disease (AERD) is an inflammatory reaction in the small blood vessels of the kidneys.


    Alternative Names

    Renal disease - atheroembolic; Cholesterol embolization syndrome; Atheroemboli - renal; Atherosclerotic disease - renal


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    AERD is linked to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a common disorder of the arteries. It occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard substances called plaque.

    In AERD, cholesterol crystals break off from the plaque lining the arteries. These crystals move into the blood stream. Once in circulation, the crystals get stuck in tiny blood vessels called arterioles. There, they cause intense swelling and pain that can harm the kidney or other parts of the body

    The result is organ damage due to decreased blood supply. The kidneys are involved about half the tiome. Other body parts that may be involved include the skin, eyes, muscles and bones, brain and nerves, and organs in the abdomen. Acute kidney failure is possible if the reaction is severe.

    Atherosclerosis of the aorta is the most common cause of AERD. The cholesterol crystals may also break off during aortic angiography, cardiac catheterization or surgery of the aorta or other major arteries.

    In some cases, AERD may occur without a known cause.

    The risk factors for AERD are the same as risk factors for atherosclerosis.