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NBME 21 Answers

nbme21/Block 3/Question#12 (37.5 difficulty score)
A 55-year-old man with hypertension comes to ...
Left renal artery atherosclerosis🔍

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 +5  upvote downvote
submitted by pg32(107),

NBME/Uworld love to test renal artery stenosis in the setting of hypertensive urgency/emergency. Just because this has been done so many times, you can basically get the right answer from the first half of the question. Pt with end organ issues (headache, confusion) and really high BP (I know it isn't 180/120, but it is really high). So this guy basically has hypertensive emergency. I'm already thinking it's renal artery stenosis. Next sentence? A bruit over the left abdomen. Bingo. Renal artery stenosis, most often caused by atherosclerosis in older men (as compared to fibromuscular dysplasia in younger women).

lovebug  He is heavy smoker but, No weight loss, No cachexia -> so can be R/O Left renal cell carcinoma. is it right? +  
lovebug  Renovascular ds. FA2019, pg 592. +  

Im not really sure but I think the point is that with the captopril radionuclide scan there is a delay in function of the kidney. What they wanted us to remember here is that when you give a " A pril" to a patient with Renal artery atherosclerosis the renal function worsens because there is constriction of the efferent arteriole

FA 2018 - 567

kevin  efferent dilates with an ACE-I due to loss of angiotensin mediated vasoconstriction +  

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sympathetikey  Also, just thinking out loud, in the case of RCC, it's the kidney tissue that's dysplastic & moving, so technically the renal artery itself isn't dysplastic, right? +  
paperbackwriter  @usmleuser007 very good point regarding the venous vs arterial circulation that I neglected to consider! +  

 +0  upvote downvote
submitted by rainlad(17),

How do we explain the bruit in this case? Also why isn't it left artery aneurysm? That seems like it would better explain the bruit

gdupgrant  The bruit is basically just turbulent flow, which is most commonly caused by artery narrowing. I was just reading on renal artery aneurysm and it looks like most of the hypertension is actually related to a pre aneurysm stenosis, so i think stenosis is the "better" answer, esp. since the pt has like every risk factor for stenosis. To be honest I had not ever really thought about RAA for this case because bruit over RA has been drilled into my head as renal artery stenosis, but i apprecaite seeing how this is a super reasonable answer - just the stenosis is "more likely" +1  

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nor16  high blood pressure, i.e. Hypertension, risk factors for atheroscl., bruit !!! over left abdomen, secondary art. Hypertension. they always want the renal artery stenosis (like vWF in coag. disorders...) +  

I approached this question because man with rather extreme HTN and abdominal bruit is quite often renal stenosis

ALso captopril renal radionuclide scan's function is literally to assess renal stenosis (looked it up, but i did not know that when i answered)