Cholesterol embolization (CE), usually occurring in males in their sixth or seventh decade of life, can affect multiple organ systems, including the kidney. Interventive diagnostic procedures and aortic surgery greatly increase the risk of CE. Rapid or insidious progression of renal failure in association with surgical or diagnostic radiologic procedures should suggest this diagnosis. Progressive renal insufficiency in older patients with generalized arterial disease should suggest ischemic nephropathy secondary to bilateral renal artery stenosis, renal CE, or both. Recent worsening of hypertension is characteristic of either diagnosis. A number of clinical conditions can simulate renal CE, and final differentiation may be possible only by renal biopsy. Aggressive, supportive management of renal CE is warranted because renal function may stabilize and, in a limited number of cases, may even improve.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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