Last updated:10-20-2008
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Definition and causes

Acute kidney failure represents a serious condition where the renal function suddenly reduced or terminated. Kidneys have many functions and vital organs. Most importantly ensure that all the time to filter the blood and excrete waste and to regulate the body's fluid and salt balance by producing urine. In addition, the kidneys produce hormones that help to regulate blood pressure and the formation of red blood cells.

In acute renal failure disrupted these functions and waste, salt and fluid accumulates in the body in fatal quantities.

The causes can be divided into three groups:

  1. Decreased blood flow of kidneys, Which is the most common and visible example. by dehydration, blood loss or sharply after a heart attack with impaired heart pumping function.

  2. Damage to kidney tissueEither by physical damage, poisons (including some medicines), inflammation (eg. Glomerulonephritis) and certain infections.

  3. Blocked drains urine, Most often caused by kidney stones (both sides) or prostatic hyperplasia (prostate cancer) in men.

Daily use of certain types of pain killer in high doses can damage the kidneys and manifest itself as acute renal failure in 40-50 years of age. This occurs rarely in Denmark, since the most dangerous is not negotiable anymore.

Symptoms and complications of acute renal failure

Symptom picture is often characterized by the underlying disease. Symptoms of the kidney failure seen often in the form of highly decreased urine output (less than 400 ml in the day) as well as fatigue, madlede, nausea and vomiting due to accumulated waste. Accumulation of fluid in the lungs and possibly. gives breath brain and possibly. ambiguity, confusion and even seizures. Poor regulation of salt balance (especially potassium) may cause changes in heart rhythm and, at worst, cardiac arrest.

The mode can provide complications in the form of infections and blood pressure and cardiac symptoms, for example. heart attack.

Precautions and diagnosis

Acute renal insufficiency can be life-threatening and requires immediate hospitalization in a specialized in kidney diseases (nefrologisk department). Here are seeking to strike the operative cause (see above) and deal with this. If the cause is not clear, we have to take a tissue (biopsy) from the kidneys, which among other things, examined under microscope. This is done with a needle through the skin.

Treatment of acute renal failure

Therapy focuses on healing the operative cause. This improves renal function often quickly.

Dehydration and blood loss corrected with fluid or blood supply and heart attack are treated to minimize damage to the pump function (see myocardial infarction). Blocked drains urine treated by removing kidney stones, extending urinvejenes narrowing by prostate or temporary construction of a urinary catheter for drainage directly into the kidney. Inflammation of the kidney tissue (including Glomerulonephritis, see this) are often treated more hesitant and specialized medical treatment, after which it usually go

Are the kidneys difficult damaged, it may be necessary to implement dialysis, where blood is pumped through a machine that cleans it of waste, regulate salt balance and withdraw excess fluid from the system. This must be repeated regularly until the kidney function again.


The prognosis is very individual and depends on the triggering cause, and how quickly the right treatment added. Dialysis-dependent renal failure generally have a worse prognosis. In addition, there is danger of serious illness or death due to complications (see above). The most common cause, dehydration, easily handled, and the kidneys are almost always completely healthy.


This article is formed on the Health Guide on 01.08.06

Related articles:

Acute kidney failure (acute renal failure)
Chronic renal failure (chronic renal insufficiency)
Renal failure (renal insufficiency)
Total kidney failure (Total insufficiency)



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