Acute tubular necrosis

Alternative Names

Necrosis – renal tubular; ATN; Necrosis – acute tubular

Definition of Acute tubular necrosis

Acute tubular necrosis is a kidney disorder involving damage to the tubule cells of the kidneys, resulting in acute kidney failure.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Acute tubular necrosis (ATN) is caused by lack of oxygen to the kidney tissues (ischemia of the kidneys).

Signs and tests

Examination usually indicates acute kidney failure. There may be signs of fluid overload, including abnormal sounds on listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope (auscultation).

Treatment

In most people, acute tubular necrosis is reversible. The goal of treatment is to prevent life-threatening complications of acute kidney failure during the time the lesion is present.

Expectations (prognosis)

The duration of symptoms varies. The decreased urine output phase may last from a few days to 6 weeks or more. This is occasionally followed by a period of high urine output, where the healed and newly functioning kidneys try to clear the body of fluid and wastes.

Review

Parul Patel, MD, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology and Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, Affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center, Department of Transplantation, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/13/2009

Kidney anatomy
Kidney - blood and urine flow

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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