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To find out if you have renal artery stenosis, your doctor will do a physical exam, order lab tests, and ask about your and your family's past health.
If your doctor thinks that you may have renal artery stenosis, you may have a test that lets your doctor look at a picture of your kidneys and renal arteries. These tests include:
Duplex Doppler ultrasound.
This test uses sound waves to show how blood flows through a blood vessel. It can show reduced flow of blood through narrow areas in the renal arteries.
Computed tomography (CT) angiogram.
This test uses X-rays to provide pictures of the renal arteries. The test uses a special dye that is put into a vein (IV) to make very detailed pictures of the arteries. It can show if the artery is narrowed or blocked.
Magnetic resonance angiogram.
This test uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of the renal arteries. It can show narrowing in the renal arteries that may be causing reduced blood flow. This test allows the doctor to see both the blood flow and the condition of the artery walls.
A catheter angiogram of the kidney.
This is an X-ray test that provides pictures of the blood flow in a blood vessel, such as the renal arteries. During an angiogram, the doctor will put a thin, flexible tube into a blood vessel in your groin or arm. This tube is called a catheter. The doctor guides the tube to the blood vessel that will be studied. Then a dye is injected through the tube to make the area easier to see. X-rays or pictures are taken of the area. An angiogram can also show narrowing or a blockage in a blood vessel that affects blood flow. Sometimes a problem can be treated during this test. For example, a catheter can be used to open a narrowed renal artery.