• Although acute renal artery obstruction causes cessation of kidney function, the viability of the nephron is often maintained by collateral circulation. When renal artery blood flow is restored, filtration is resumed and the resulting acute tubular necrosis is gradually resolved as renal tubular cells regenerate. We have observed several different mechanisms of acute renal artery obstruction resulting in anuric renal failure: temporary suprarenal placement of an aortic clamp during abdominal aneurysmectomy, resulting in bilateral renal artery occlusion; embolus, presumably of cardiac origin, to a solitary kidney; and thrombosis of the distal aorta extending to a level proximal to the renal arteries. There is no correlation between the duration of renal artery occlusion and the viability of kidney parenchyma. Viability of the kidney can only be determined by visual inspection at operation and response to revascularization. When vascular obstruction is a possible cause of acute anuric renal failure, immediate angiography is indicated. If a correctable vascular lesion is identified, operative intervention is mandatory.
(Arch Surg 113:216-218, 1978)