Differences in renal hemodynamics and renin secretion between patients with unifocal and multifocal fibromuscular dysplasia

Daan J. L. van Twist*, Pieter W. M. de Heer, Alfons J. H. M. Houben, Michiel W. de Haan, Peter W. de Leeuw, Abraham A. Kroon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objective: Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) can be classified in a multifocal and a unifocal subtype. As unifocal FMD generally leads to more severe hypertension at younger age, we hypothesized that renal hemodynamics are more disturbed in unifocal renal artery FMD as compared with multifocal FMD, leading to increased renin secretion. Methods: We measured renal blood flow ((133)Xenon washout method), renin secretion, and glomerular filtration rate per kidney in 101 patients with FMD (26 unifocal and 75 multifocal), all off medication and prior to balloon angioplasty. Results: We found that renal blood flow and glomerular filtration were substantially lower in kidneys with unifocal FMD as compared with multifocal FMD. In the affected kidney from patients with unilateral FMD for example, mean renal blood flow was 173 +/- 77 in unifocal vs. 244 +/- 79 ml/100 g kidney/min in multifocal FMD (P=0.013). Moreover, lateralization in renin secretion was only observed in a subset of patients with unifocal FMD, but not in any of the patients with multifocal FMD. Conclusion: These findings suggest that the impact of unifocal FMD lesions on the kidney is more severe, resulting in a classical pattern of renovascular hypertension. In multifocal FMD, however, renal blood flow is more preserved, local renin secretion is not increased, and the association between renin levels and blood pressure is inverse. These differences may explain the often more severe clinical presentation and higher success rate of revascularization in unifocal FMD, but also suggest that the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to hypertension may differ between these two disease entities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1729-1735
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • fibromuscular dysplasia
  • kidney
  • renin-angiotensin system
  • renovascular hypertension

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