What is Acute Kidney Injury?
Acute kidney injury, previously known as acute renal failure or acute kidney failure, is a sudden decline in kidney function. Sometimes this happens in the setting of a severe illness or infection. If acute kidney injury persists for 3 months or more, it may then be classified as chronic kidney disease.
What Causes Acute Kidney Injury?
The most common cause of acute kidney injury is medication. It is sometimes caused by an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or glomerulonephritis.
Symptoms of Acute Kidney Injury
Symptoms of acute kidney injury are sometimes subtle and can easily be mistaken for other conditions. Speak to your provider as early as possible if you notice any of the following:
- Decreased urine output
- Decreased appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Swelling in the extremities
UR Medicine's Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury
The initial stages of acute kidney injury are treated with hydration, avoiding medications and toxins that may harm your kidneys, and any other support your body may need to restore kidney function.
Your nephrology team will work with your other health care professionals to determine if any medications or other insults that may be harming your kidneys can be stopped. Sometimes medications will need to be held or adjusted due to a decrease in kidney function.
Hospital admission may be necessary depending on the severity of the kidney injury. Intravenous fluid may be administered, and you will likely have frequent blood work and urine studies performed. Imaging such as a kidney ultrasound is also often done.
If the kidney injury is severe or your nephrology team has concerns about a possible glomerulonephritis (inflammation in the kidney tissues), a kidney biopsy may be performed to determine the best treatment plan. However, if the acute kidney injury does not improve, dialysis is sometimes needed to help manage the complications.
What Sets Us Apart?
Our collaborative approach brings a wide range of expertise and diverse perspectives to patient care, with specialists in cardiology, endocrinology, infectious disease, rheumatology, transplant surgery, and urology who can work together to develop the best treatments for each patient.
Because we are an academic medical center, our physicians also lead important research studies, with significant grants from the National Institutes of Health and industry-sponsored clinical trials.
Our nephrology team cares for a large volume of patients and therefore our providers are very familiar with rare and complex kidney diseases. We work closely with our pathology colleagues such that we often can get preliminary kidney biopsy reports same day which allows us to treat glomerulonephritis very quickly.
Since many diseases that affect the kidneys are autoimmune in nature, we work very closely with our rheumatology colleagues to ensure that we develop a comprehensive treatment approach.
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