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How is a renal artery test done?

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Quick Answer

Tests for renal artery function are performed in a variety of ways, depending on what a physician considers most appropriate for a patient's current condition, according to WebMD. These tests range from simple blood tests to complex procedures such as magnetic resonance arteriograms.

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Renal artery function tests are performed during a diagnostic procedure for renal artery stenosis, a condition that causes constriction of the arteries carrying blood to one or both kidneys, reports WebMD. Traditional blood and urine tests are used to establish the functional state of the kidneys to discern any general problems.

More involved tests include a kidney ultrasound, which determines the size and location of the kidneys, but it can also reveal blood flow abnormalities in the kidneys, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Another version of such a test is a Doppler ultrasound, a more specific exam that determines the speed and direction of the blood flow, giving health care providers more detailed information on the condition of the renal arteries.

Additionally, tests such as magnetic resonance arteriograms and computed tomographic angiographies use dyes to provide the physician with three-dimensional computer images of the kidneys and all their blood vessels. The physician then can visually examine any constrictions or narrowing in the renal arteries, as reported by WebMD.

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