Acute kidney failure

Alternative Names

Kidney failure; Renal failure; Renal failure – acute; ARF; Kidney injury – acute

Definition of Acute kidney failure

Acute (sudden) kidney failure is the sudden loss of the ability of the kidneys to remove waste and concentrate urine without losing electrolytes.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

There are many possible causes of kidney damage. They include:

Signs and tests

Many patients have generalized swelling caused by fluid retention. The doctor may hear a heart murmur, crackles in the lungs, or signs of inflammation of the lining of the heart when listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope.

Treatment

Once the cause is found, the goal of treatment is to restore kidney function and prevent fluid and waste from building up in the body while the kidneys heal. Usually, you have to stay overnight in the hospital for treatment.

Expectations (prognosis)

Acute kidney failure is potentially life-threatening and may require intensive treatment. However, the kidneys usually start working again within several weeks to months after the underlying cause has been treated.

Review

Charles Silberberg, DO, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology, Affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/31/2010

Kidney anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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