Functional alterations in the renal circulation that can contribute to abnormal renal perfusion have been demonstrated in various models of renal injury. To detect impairments in renal vascular function, renal flow reserve can be determined by repeated measurements of renal blood flow (RBF) during pharmacological challenge with short-acting vasodilators that should increase RBF in kidneys that are not severely damaged structurally. Among the invasive techniques for such measurements, the most readily available is probably the intravascular Doppler, which can be employed during renal angiography for rapid evaluation of changes in RBF during intrarenal injections of vasoactive substances. High-resolution tomographic imaging techniques, like electron-beam x-ray computed tomography, further offer the potential for noninvasive measurements of renal parenchymal perfusion and function, in association with either intrarenal or systemic injections of vasoactive substances. Acetylcholine is a potent short-acting renal vasodilator that can be useful to assess the response of the renal microcirculation, define renal flow reserve, and examine the endothelium-dependent responses of RBF. Such assessments of the function of the renal circulation can assist in evaluation of patients with systemic or renal disease for early detection and monitoring of renovascular injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine