Acute Kidney Failure
Acute Kidney Failure Overview
Acute kidney failure is the kidneys' loss of ability to filter the blood within a few days. This quickly results in the accumulation of dangerous amounts of water, salts, and wastes in the body.
Acute kidney failure is most common in people who are already critically ill. It may be fatal, and requires immediate treatment. However, many otherwise healthy people have regained normal kidney function after acute kidney failure.
Acute Kidney Failure Symptoms
Symptoms of acute kidney failure may include:
- Decreased urine output
- Swelling in feet, ankles, or legs
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure or pain
Sometimes, acute kidney failure has no symptoms, but is detected through tests done in response to unrelated symptoms.
Acute Kidney Failure Risk Factors
Acute kidney failure may be caused by a condition that directly damages the kidneys, like dehydration; a slowing of blood flow to the kidneys; or blockage of urine's path from the kidneys.
Risk factors include:
- Hospitalization, especially in intensive care
- Advanced age
- Blockages in peripheral arteries
- Blockages in urinary excretion
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Certain drugs or chemicals (such as contrast dye used in certain radiographic studies)
Acute Kidney Failure Diagnosis
Tests your Wellstar physician may use to diagnose kidney failure include:
- Measuring urine output
- Urine tests
- Blood tests for high levels of urea and creatinine
- Imaging, such as computerized tomography (CT) or ultrasound
- Biopsy of a sample of kidney tissue extracted with a thin needle
Acute Kidney Failure Treatment
Treatment for acute kidney failure depends on the underlying condition that originally damaged your kidneys, and may include mitigation of the chemical imbalances resulting from the failure. It may require hospitalization.
If the kidney failure was caused by dehydration, you may be given intravenous fluids. If it was caused by too much fluid, you may be given a diuretic.
Kidney failure sometimes results in accumulation of potassium in the blood. Treatments, such as calcium, prevent this accumulation. Kidney failure also may result in calcium deficiency, in which case calcium may also be prescribed. Dialysis may be required to remove toxins from the blood.