For the past year and a half, a handful of American physicians have used percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) to treat nearly 200 patients with stenosis in the renal arteries secondary to atherosclerotic disease. Their preliminary studies indicate that the success rate achieved with PTA easily equals that of surgical restitution of impaired blood supply to the kidney.
Most important, PTA has been feasible and usually successful in patients previously denied surgical treatment as poor operative candidates.
The first American reports on the technique were given by four groups at the recent meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Atlanta. Their consensus was that, compared with surgical treatment of renal artery stenoses, PTA has several advantages: it allows use of local anesthesia; the hospitalization period is greatly shortened; and patient morbidity is reduced. Furthermore, it offers hope to patients whose conditions are refractory to other therapy.