Acute Kidney Failure
(Acute Kidney Injury)
Your kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that produce urine. They’re about the size of your fist and are in the back of your abdomen, near your spine. Kidneys balance your body’s water and mineral levels and filter waste out of your blood.
An acute problem is one that has just started and probably won't last too long. So, acute kidney failure is when one or both of your kidneys suddenly stop working for a few days or weeks. If your kidneys stop working for a long time, you have chronic kidney disease.
Doctors now use the term "acute kidney injury" to refer to acute kidney failure. But kidney failure is still the term most people know.
Damage to one kidney doesn't cause major problems as long as your other kidney works—both of your kidneys need to stop working for you to have serious problems
You may have swelling of your feet, ankles, or face, feel sick and tired, itch all over your body, have difficulty breathing, or urinate (pee) less than usual
Acute kidney failure can lead to serious problems, such as heart failure
You may need kidney dialysis
Acute kidney failure can be caused by:
Your kidneys need a lot of blood. Your kidneys may not get enough blood if you have a lot of bleeding, have gotten very dehydrated, or your heart isn't pumping enough blood.
If a cancer or a kidney stone blocks the flow of urine, pressure builds up in the kidney. If the pressure stays high for a long time, your kidneys will be damaged.
Many drugs and other substances can damage your kidneys, for example:
Contrast agents are liquids given by vein that make blood vessels and organs easier to see on x-rays.
Doctors often can’t find a cause for a person's acute kidney failure.
Your symptoms depend on:
First, you may have symptoms that include:
You also may have symptoms of the problem that caused your kidney failure.
Doctors treat the problem that is causing your acute kidney failure. Your doctor may also:
Put you on a special diet that limits how much fluid, salt, phosphorus, and potassium you take in
Have you weigh yourself each day to tell whether you're retaining fluid
Give you medicine to balance the potassium or phosphorus levels in your blood
Put you on dialysis to help remove waste and excess water from your blood
Some kidney injuries are severe and life-threatening, and need to be treated in a special care unit in the hospital. You may need surgery, for example, if your kidneys and urine flow are blocked.