Renal Vein Renin Studies in Renovascular Hypertension – Do They Really Help?

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Measurement of the renal vein renin ratio (RVRR) is commonly used to predict the response of blood pressure to surgery in hypertensive patients with unilateral renovascular disease. We have reviewed our experience in 37 such patients in whom renal vein renin levels were measured basally and after stimulation of renin secretion with intravenous diazoxide or tilting. Twenty-four patients were cured or improved. When a basal ratio of ≥1.5 (diseased:normal kidney) was taken as a positive test the false positive rate was 39% and the false negative rate 71 %, there being little difference in outcome between those with ratios above or below 1.5. No other threshold value of RVRR identified those responding to surgery, and acute stimulation of renin secretion did not increase the value of the test. We conclude that the RVRR is of no prognostic value in the surgical treatment of hypertension due to unilateral renovascular disease.

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