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Spontaneous renal artery dissection: an elusive diagnosis
  1. Catherine Mary Henry1,
  2. Peter MacEneaney2 and
  3. Gemma Browne1
  1. 1Department of Renal Medicine, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Radiology, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catherine Mary Henry; 115355151{at}


Spontaneous renal artery dissection is a rare condition with an often non-specific presentation, resulting in a challenging diagnosis for clinicians. This is the case of a 39-year-old man who presented with an acute-onset right flank pain, mild neutrophilia and sterile urine. CT of abdomen and pelvis showed a patchy hypodense area in the right kidney originally thought to represent infection. He was treated as an atypical pyelonephritis with antibiotics and fluids. When his symptoms failed to improve, a diagnosis of renal infarction was considered and CT angiogram of the aorta revealed a spontaneous renal artery dissection. He was managed conservatively with systemic anticoagulation, antihypertensive treatment and analgesia and discharged home with resolution of his symptoms and normal renal function.

  • renal medicine
  • cardiovascular medicine
  • radiology
  • renal intervention
  • vascular surgery

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  • Contributors CMH, GB and PME were involved in patient care. CMH gathered the information relevant to the case and drafted the case report under the supervision of GB. PME selected radiological images and provided accompanying descriptions. GB reviewed and edited the report. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.