The increase in patients’ average age, the enhancement of anticoagulation therapy and the growth of vascular interventions represent the perfect conditions for the onset of atheroembolic renal disease. AERD is observed in patients with diffuse atherosclerosis, generally after a triggering event such as surgery on the aorta, invasive procedures (angiography, catheterization of the left ventricle, coronary angioplasty) and anticoagulant or fibrinolytic therapy. The clinical signs are heterogeneous, a consequence of the occlusion of downstream small arterial vessels by cholesterol emboli coming from atheromatous plaques of the aorta, or one of its main branches. The proximity of the kidneys to the abdominal aorta, and the high flow of blood they receive, make them a major target organ. For this reason, AERD represents a pathological condition that always needs to be taken into account in the nephropathic patient, although its systemic nature makes the diagnosis difficult.
This manuscript presents a review of the existing literature on this pathology, to provide an updated summary of the state of the art: risk factors, diagnostics, histology and therapeutic approaches.
Keywords: atherosclerosis, cholesterol crystal embolism, contrast media, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease