What Is Acute Kidney Injury and Failure?
- Remove waste products from the body.
- Help control blood pressure.
- Help maintain electrolyte and acid/base balance in your body.
Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys stop working, most often because of chronic kidney disease causing damage over time. But acute kidney injury happens suddenly.
Causes of acute kidney injury and failure
Many health problems can cause acute kidney injury and failure.
Low blood pressure
Issues that can cause low blood pressure include:
- Heart attacks or heart failure
- Other organ failure
- Overuse of pain medications or other drug effects
- Severe diarrhea or other GI problems
- Severe starvation or dehydration
Direct damage to the kidneys
Certain autoimmune/inflammatory diseases or exposures to chemical toxins or drugs can directly damage the kidney.
Blockages that block the flow of urine out of the body
Issues that can block the flow of urine include:
- An enlarged prostate
- Bladder dysfunction
- Certain cancers
- Kidney stones
Acute kidney injury risks and complications
Factors that may increase your risk for acute kidney injury include:
- Any serious condition that causes a hospital stay.
- Kidney disease of any kind.
- Being over the age of 60.
- Certain cancers.
Complications linked to acute kidney injury include:
- Permanent kidney damage.
- Fluid buildup in the lungs.
- Life-threatening electrolyte problems, such as high potassium levels.
- Accumulation of drugs in the body that your kidney normally processes, and associated side effects.
Recovery from kidney injury depends on what caused the damage and your overall health.
Why choose UPMC for kidney care?
At the UPMC Kidney Disease Center:
- Our world-renowned experts treat the full spectrum of kidney diseases using the latest techniques for diagnosis and treatment.
- We'll work with you to find a reversible cause for your kidney injury.
- We help you choose a treatment option including supportive care, dialysis, or kidney transplant.
After treatment, your kidneys may fully heal. In some cases, acute kidney injury may cause permanent damage and require more advanced treatment.