What Is Acute Kidney Injury?

What Is Acute Kidney Injury? Posted On
Posted By Steffy Alen

Once diagnosed timely by Best Nephrologist in Karachi acute kidney injury (AKI) or acute renal failure (ARF), is a reversible condition. It occurs when the kidneys suddenly fail to function and without management, it can change to chronic kidney disease (CKD). Read on to read more about acute kidney injury and how to treat it:

What Is Acute Kidney Injury?

Damage to the kidneys due to any cause can lead to dysfunction, and when this happens suddenly, it is known as acute kidney injury. This loss of kidney function can range from minor loss or complete kidney failure. AKI can also be a part of another illness and is common in the elderly. AKI needs prompt management, and in case of complete failure, reliance on dialysis for a period of time.

What Are The Symptoms Of Acute Kidney Injury?

AKI presents with little production of urine, unusual fatigue and tiredness, muscle twitching, drowsiness, itching, loss of appetite, seizure, rash, nosebleed, back pain, shortness of breath, swelling in the legs, ankles and eyes, confusion, chest pain and coma in severe cases.

In some people, acute kidney injury causes no symptoms and the disease becomes evident on investigations performed for some other illness.

Who Is At Risk Of Acute Kidney Injury?  

The risk of kidney injury is higher in individuals aged 65 and above, and who already have a chronic disorder. The latter can include liver disease, heart disease and diabetes. The chances of kidney disease are also higher in people who are taking medication like NSAIDs and diuretics, ACE inhibitors and aminoglycosides.

What Are The Causes Of Acute Kidney Injury?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Causes of kidney failure include: conditions that slow blood flow to the kidneys, direct damage to the kidneys and ureteric obstruction.

Conditions That Slow Blood Flow To The Kidneys

The impaired blood flow to the kidneys is caused by a number of conditions. This includes: hypotension or low blood pressure, fluid loss, injury, major surgery, severe allergic reactions, burns, heart attack, heart failure and conditions causing decreased heart function.

Direct Damage To The Kidneys

Sepsis, multiple myeloma, inflammation of the renal vessels and connective tissue disorders like scleroderma can directly damage the kidneys. Additionally, inflammatory conditions of the filtering units of the kidneys—the tubules—also causes impairment of the kidney function.

Ureteric Obstruction

Conditions that block the passage of urine from the bladder to the urethra, or anywhere along the urinary tract, causes backflow of the urine and eventually damage the kidney tubules. The blockage can be caused by kidney stones, enlarged prostate, bladder cancer, prostate or cervical cancer and blood clots in the urinary tract.

How Is Acute Kidney Injury Diagnosed?

Investigations for the acute kidney injury include:

  • Measurement of the urine output: the output is severely decreased in AKI and provides a clue to the causative agent behind the renal failure.
  • Kidney biopsy: in inflammatory conditions of the renal tissue, biopsy helps in narrowing down the exact cause of AKI.
  • Imaging techniques: ultrasound of the kidneys, bladder and renal tubules can locate any obstruction in the pathway of urine.
  • Blood tests: blood levels of creatinine, urea and electrolytes need monitoring in AKI.
  • Urine tests: urinalysis is another investigation to find the signs of kidney failure.

What Is The Treatment Of Acute Kidney Injury?

AKI is managed with in-hospital stay. The main cause of the healthcare expert like Best Nephrologist in Islamabad is to manage the cause behind AKI, and allow the kidneys to recover. If need be, the patient is put on dialysis to replace the kidney function. Additionally, the patient is started on medication to normalize the vitamins and minerals and started on low-sodium diet.

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