It Comes As a Shock: Kidney Repair Using Shockwave Therapy

Nattawat Klomjit, Amir Lerman, Lilach O. Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Chronic kidney disease is a global health care burden, yet clinically-proven treatments are limited. Low-intensity shockwave, which utilizes ≈10% of the energy levels used in clinically indicated shockwave lithotripsy, is a promising technique to ameliorate ischemia and regenerate tissues. It has been demonstrated to improve healing in tissues such as bone, muscle, myocardium, and kidney via several mechanisms, particularly through promoting neovascularization. Low-intensity shockwave stimulates mechanoreceptors located primarily in endothelial and proximal tubular cells and subsequently upregulates vascular endothelial growth factors. This, in turn, promotes angiogenesis and ameliorates renal hypoxia, inflammation, and fibrosis, and ultimately preserves renal function. Furthermore, low-intensity shockwave can stimulate release of homing factors to attract endothelial progenitor or stem cells into injured kidneys for tissue repair. These effects may be beneficial in several kidney disease models, including renal artery stenosis, diabetic kidney disease, and various chronic kidney diseases, although most studies reported to date have been performed in animal models. Because of its low energy intensity, the procedure is relatively tolerable and safe, yet, more clinical studies are needed to establish its efficacy beyond currently existing strategies. Therefore, low-intensity shockwave therapy emerges as an alternative therapeutic approach that may offer a promising noninvasive intervention for treating renal diseases. Registration - URL:; Unique identifier: NCT02515461; NCT03602807; and NCT03445247.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1696-1703
Number of pages8
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • extracorporeal shockwave therapy
  • myocardial ischemia
  • renal insufficiency
  • renal insufficiency, chronic
  • ultrasonography, interventional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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