The renal circulation in hypertensive disease

The American Journal of Medicine
N K Hollenberg, D F Adams


The pivotal role of the kidney in sustaining hypertension from any source or etiology is becoming increasingly clear. The possibility that the renal vasculature participates not only in the pathogenesis of renal vascular hypertension, but also in that of essential hypertension, has been the subject of continuing interest for 40 years. Evidence that a functional abnormality resulting in increased renal vascular tone is present in about two-thirds of patients with uncomplicated essential hypertension is reviewed, along with more circumstantial evidence that sympathetic nervous system activity operating on the renal vasculature is responsible. Two additional groups of patients in whom a characteristic abnormality of the renal vasculature is present have also been identified. In one group there is severe hypertension which is resistant to most forms of antihypertensive therapy but which is especially responsive to propranolol. In these patients renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate are reduced, renin secretion rate is increased and the renal vessels are resistant to vasodilators, suggesting the presence of advanced organic arteriolonephrosclerosis, as a complication of long-standing, severe hypertension. The renal lesion,...Continue Reading


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