What is Acute Kidney Failure?
Acute kidney failure is also known as an acute renal failure. It is an acute medical condition characterized by the inability of the kidneys to filter the waste products from the blood, which occurs suddenly. It usually develops over a few hours or over a few days. It is a serious medical condition, which requires hospitalization and proper medical treatment. It can be fatal.
What Causes Acute Kidney Failure?
Acute kidney failure usually occurs if one of the three things impairs their function:
• Direct damage to the kidneys
• Ureters become blocked and the urine can’t be eliminated
• A medical condition slows the blood flow to the kidneys.
Direct damage to the kidneys usually occurs in cases of glomerulonephritis, lupus, and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Other cases are multiple myeloma, scleroderma, hemolytic uremic syndrome, blood clots, etc.
Ureters become blocked and the passage of the urine out of the body gets impaired in cases of kidney stones. Kidney stones move and enter the ureters, blood clots in the urinary tract, bladder cancer, enlarged prostate, cervical cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, etc. This is also known as urinary obstruction.
Medical conditions that can slow the blood flow to the kidneys include anaphylaxis, heart disease, heart attack, excessive blood loss, excessive fluid loss, liver failure, severe burns, etc.
Sign and Symptoms of Acute Kidney Failure
Acute kidney failure occurs over a short period of time, with a rapid onset of signs and symptoms.
Common signs and symptoms of acute kidney failure include decreased urine output, urine retention, swelling in the legs, as well as the ankles and feet. Additionally, you may have shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, drowsiness, chest pain, chest pressure, seizures and even coma in severe cases. However, in some cases, the urine output remains in normal levels.
How is Acute Kidney Failure diagnosed?
If acute kidney failure is suspected there are various tests that will help confirm, the diagnosis. Some of the tests routinely performed in these cases include:
• Blood tests – rapid increase of blood levels of urea and creatinine are noticed in cases with acute kidney failure.
• Urine tests – are routinely performed, not just in cases when acute kidney failure is suspected. Urine analysis may reveal any function anomalies of the kidneys.
• Urine output measurements – the amount of urine that is excreted during one day, is very helpful in determining the cause of the acute kidney failure,
• Imaging test – Ultrasound of the kidneys and CT of the lumbar region may help visualize the kidneys and look for their shape, structure, etc.
• Biopsy of kidney tissue – a small sample of kidney tissue sometimes is necessary for lab testing.
How is Acute Kidney Failure treated?
In cases of acute kidney failure, hospitalization is always required. The length of recovery depends on the reason of acute kidney failure. Treatment also depends on the cause of acute kidney failure. It usually consists of:
• Dialysis to remove the toxins from the body
• Medications to restore the levels of calcium in the blood
• Medications to control the levels of potassium in the blood
• Treatment for balancing the body fluids, etc.