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Renal Vein Thrombosis


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Dec 2019| Content last modified Dec 2019
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Your kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that make urine, balance your body’s water and mineral levels, and filter waste out of your blood.

The Urinary Tract

The Urinary Tract

What is renal vein thrombosis?

Renal is a term that refers to the kidneys, and thrombosis means blood clot. Renal vein thrombosis is a blood clot in the renal vein, which is the main vein that carries blood away from your kidneys.

  • Renal vein thrombosis can cause kidney damage

  • One or both of your kidneys may be affected

  • Symptoms include pain in the chest, back, and hips, and urinating (peeing) less

  • Doctors have you take medicine to break down the clot

What causes renal vein thrombosis?

Renal vein thrombosis is usually caused by:

Other causes include:

What are the symptoms of renal vein thrombosis?

You usually don't have any symptoms unless you get kidney failure. Symptoms of kidney failure include:

  • Feeling weak and tired

  • Feeling sick to your stomach

  • Being less hungry than usual

  • Itching

  • Feeling sleepy or confused

If the thrombosis was caused by a general increase in blood clotting, you may have symptoms of blood clots in other organs, such as in your:

  • Lungs: Chest pain and shortness of breath

  • Brain: Symptoms of a stroke, such as weakness and confusion

  • Legs: Swelling and pain in a leg

How can doctors tell if I have renal vein thrombosis?

To find out if you have renal vein thrombosis, doctors may do:

  • Magnetic resonance angiography (a type of MRI that focuses on your blood vessels)

  • Computed tomography angiography (a type of CT scan that focuses on your blood vessels)

  • Ultrasound

Doctors will also do blood and urine tests to look for signs of kidney damage and for other causes of thrombosis.

How do doctors treat renal vein thrombosis?

Doctors treat whatever caused the renal vein thrombosis. They'll usually also give you:

  • Anticoagulants (blood-thinning medicine)

Sometimes they'll remove the clot from the kidney vein using a catheter or give you drugs that can break down the clot.

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