Acute Renal Failure

While Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) happens over time, acute renal failure can strike quickly and viciously. Acute renal failure occurs when your kidneys suddenly stop working.  Without the kidneys removing waste products and balancing minerals in your blood, this condition can be deadly.

Acute Renal Failure Causes

  1. A steep and sudden drop in blood flow to your kidneys.  Sepsis (a serious infection) or heavy blood loss can reduce blood flow to the kidneys.  Dehydration, not enough fluid in your body, can also harm the kidneys.
  2. Damage from some medicines, poisons, or infections.  People who have serious, long-term health problems are more likely than other people to have a kidney problem from medicines.  Medications that can harm the kidneys include:
    • Some antibiotics
    • Some pain medicines
    • Some blood pressure medicines
    • The dyes used in some X-ray tests
  3. A sudden blockage that stops urine from flowing out of the kidneys. Kidney stones, a tumor, an injury, or an enlarged prostate gland can cause a blockage.

Acute Renal Failure Chances

You have a greater chance of getting acute renal failure if:

  • You are an older adult
  • If you have long-term health problems such as diabetes
  • You are already very ill and are in the hospital or intensive care (ICU).
  • Invasive surgeries can put you at risk of acute renal failure

Acute Renal Failure Symptoms

  • Little to no urine when you urinate
  • Swelling, especially in your legs and feet
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
  • Feeling confused, restless, or sleepy
  • Pain in the back just below the rib cage

Acute Renal Failure Treatment

Your doctor or kidney specialist will try to treat the problem that is the root cause of the failure.  Treatment can vary due to the different causes of the acute renal failure.  The doctor may remove the blockage, stop the delivery of your medication, or restore blood flow to the kidneys depending on the cause.  The doctor will try to:

  • Stop wastes from building up in your body. Sometimes dialysis will be needed.  Utilizing a special machine, dialysis cleans and helps filter the blood until the kidneys recover.
  • Prevent other problems. Taking antibiotics or other medications to balance your body will help to prevent infections and other problems.