General Practice 2022

Renal angiomyolipoma: what é, symptoms and treatment

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Renal angiomyolipoma: what é, symptoms and treatment
Renal angiomyolipoma: what é, symptoms and treatment
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Renal angiomyolipoma is a rare and benign tumor that affects the kidneys and is composed of fat, blood vessels and muscles. The causes are not exactly defined, but the emergence of this disease may be linked to genetic changes and other kidney diseases. Although angiomyolipoma is most common in the kidneys, it can happen in other organs of the body.

In most cases, renal angiomyolipoma does not cause symptoms, but if it is larger than 4 cm it can cause bleeding in the kidneys and in these cases back pain, nausea, increased blood pressure and blood in the urine may occur..

The diagnosis usually happens by chance, after performing imaging tests to investigate another disease, and the treatment is defined by the nephrologist after checking the size of the angiomyolipoma in the kidneys.

Main symptoms

In most cases, angiomyolipoma does not cause any type of symptoms. However, when the angiomyolipoma is considered large, that is, larger than 4 cm, it can generate symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the lateral region of the belly;
  • Blood urine;
  • Frequent urinary tract infection;
  • Increased blood pressure.

Furthermore, symptoms are more frequent when this type of tumor causes bleeding in the kidneys. In these cases, symptoms may include a sudden drop in blood pressure, very severe abdominal pain, feeling faint and very pale skin.

How to confirm the diagnosis

To confirm the diagnosis of renal angiomyolipoma, the nephrologist may order some imaging tests such as angiography, ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

Renal angiomyolipoma tumors are easier to diagnose when they are composed of fat, and in cases where there is low fat content or hemorrhage making it difficult to see in imaging tests, the nephrologist may request a biopsy. Learn more about what it is and how a biopsy is performed.

How the treatment is done

After performing the exams, the nephrologist will define the treatment according to the characteristics of the kidney lesions. When the renal angiomyolipoma tumor is smaller than 4 cm, it is usually only followed up the growth with imaging tests annually.

The most indicated drugs for the treatment of renal angiomyolipoma are the immunosuppressants everolimus and sirolimus which, through their action, help to reduce the size of the tumor.

However, if the angiomyolipoma in the kidneys is larger than 4 cm or if it causes more severe symptoms, embolization is usually indicated, which is a procedure to reduce blood flow and help in the reduction of the tumor.In addition, surgery may be indicated to remove the tumor and the affected part of the kidney, in order to prevent this tumor from rupturing and causing bleeding.

When renal angiomyolipoma generates bleeding symptoms such as drop in blood pressure, pale skin and feeling faint, it is necessary to go to the hospital immediately to confirm the diagnosis and, if necessary, have emergency surgery to stop the bleeding in the kidney.

Possible causes

The causes of renal angiomyolipoma are not clearly defined, but the onset is often associated with another disease, such as tuberous sclerosis. Understand what tuberous sclerosis is and its symptoms.

In general, renal angiomyolipoma can develop in anyone, but women can develop larger tumors because of female hormone replacement or hormone release during pregnancy.

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