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January 1966

Fibromuscular Hyperplasia of the Renal Artery: An Enigma

Author Affiliations

From the departments of medicine and surgery, Wilford Hall USAF Hospital, Aerospace Medical Division (AFSC), Lackland Air Force Base.

Arch Surg. 1966;92(1):60-64. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1966.01320190062014

FIBROMUSCULAR hyperplasia of the renal artery has emerged as a lesion of major importance in causation of renal vascular hypertension.1-4 It has received attention, primarily in the surgical literature,1,3,4 as a potentially curable lesion, occurring predominantly in young women.3

Pathologically, fibromuscular hyperplasia is unassociated with primary atheromatous disease and has been described as characteristically excluding the proximal third of the renal artery.2 The lesion is marked by proliferation of fibrous tissue and smooth muscle fibers, frequently associated with degeneration of elastic fibers, the end result being narrowing of the renal arterial lumen. Although it may present as a single area of stenosis, it frequently involves a considerable length of renal artery with alternate areas of atrophy and proliferation which give the artery a "beaded" appearance radiographically. Poststenotic dilatation may be marked. Diagnosis is suggested by the typical angiographic appearance5 (Fig 1, 2) and confirmed by