Increased renal resistive index in patients with essential hypertension: A marker of target organ damage

Roberto Pontremoli, Francesca Viazzi, Carlo Martinoli, Maura Ravera, Clizia Nicolella, Valeria Berruti, Giovanna Leoncini, Natia Ruello, Paola Zagami, Gian Paolo Bezante, Lorenzo E. Derchi, Giacomo Deferrari

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Background. Increased renal resistance detected by ultrasound (US) Doppler has been reported in severe essential hypertension (EH) and recently was shown to correlate with the degree of renal impairment in hypertensive patients with chronic renal failure. However, the pathophysiological significance of this finding is still controversial. Methods. In a group of 211 untreated patients with EH, we evaluated renal resistive index (RI) by US Doppler of interlobar arteries and early signs of target organ damage (TOD). Albuminuria was measured as the albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) in three nonconsecutive first morning urine samples. Left ventricular mass was evaluated by M-B mode echocardiography, and carotid wall thickness (IMT) by high resolution US scan. Results. RI was positively correlated with age (r = 0.25, P = 0.003) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) (r = 0.2, P = 0.02) and with signs of early TOD, namely ACR (r = 0.22, P = 0.01) and IMT (r = 0.17, P <0.05), and inversely correlated with renal volume (r = -0.22, P = 0.01) and diastolic blood pressure (r = -0.23, P = 0.006). Multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that age, gender, ACR and SBP independently influence RI and together account for ~ 20% of its variations (F = 8.153, P <0.0001). When clinical data were analysed according to the degree of RI, the patients in the top quartile were found to be older (P <0.05) and with higher SBP (P <0.05) as well as early signs of TOD, namely increased ACR (P <0.002) and IMT (P <0.005 by ANOVA), despite similar body mass index, uric acid, fasting blood glucose, lipid profile and duration of hypertension. Furthermore, patients with higher RI showed a significantly higher prevalence of microalbuminuria (13 vs 12 vs 3 vs 33% ; χ 2 = 11.72, P = 0.008) and left ventricular hypertrophy (40 vs 43 vs 32 vs 60%, χ 2 = 9.25, P <0.05). Conclusions. Increased RI is associated with early signs of TOD in EH and could be a marker of intrarenal atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-365
Number of pages6
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Essential hypertension
  • Microalbuminuria
  • Renal vascular resistance
  • Target organ damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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