Acute kidney failure: Overview, Causes

Definition

Acute (sudden) kidney failure is the sudden loss of the ability of the kidneys to remove waste and concentrate urine without losing electrolytes.

Alternate Names : Kidney failure, Renal failure, Renal failure – acute, ARF, Kidney injury – acute

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

There are many possible causes of kidney damage. They include:

* Acute tubular necrosis (ATN)
* Autoimmune kidney disease, including:
o Acute nephritic syndrome
o Interstitial nephritis
* Decreased blood flow due to very low blood pressure, which can result from:
o Burns
o Dehydration
o Hemorrhage
o Injury
o Septic shock
o Serious illness
o Surgery
* Disorders that cause clotting within the kidney’s blood vessels:
o Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
o Idiopathic thrombocytopenic thrombotic purpura (ITTP)
o Malignant hypertension
o Transfusion reaction
o Scleroderma
* Infections that directly injure the kidney, such as:
o Acute pyelonephritis
o Septicemia
* Pregnancy complications, including:
o Placenta abruptio
o Placenta previa
* Urinary tract obstruction

Pictures & Images

The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes from the body, regulating electrolyte balance and blood pressure, and stimulating red blood cell production.


Review Date : 7/11/2008
Reviewed By : Parul Patel, MD, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology and Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, Affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center, Department of Transplantation, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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