acute renal failure (ARF) occurs when an obstruction
in the urinary tract below the kidneys causes waste to build
up in the kidneys . Postrenal acute renal failure accounts for
about 5 out of 100 acute renal failure cases.1
blockage in the
urinary tract may cause urine to build up in one or both kidneys. Over time,
this fluid buildup can prevent the normal flow of urine out of the kidney.
Conditions that may lead to postrenal acute renal failure include:
Goodpasture syndrome is a rare but serious autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs and kidneys.
The disease occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly produces antibodies against collagen in the lungs and kidneys. Collagen is a protein that helps form connective tissue.
Goodpasture syndrome initially causes vague symptoms such as fatigue. But it can rapidly involve the lungs and kidneys. It is almost always fatal if it is not quickly diagnosed and treated.
Postrenal acute renal failure requires immediate treatment.
When detected early, it usually can be reversed by removing or bypassing the
obstruction in the urinary tract, before any permanent damage to the kidneys
If the blockage is a
kidney stone, your
doctor can remove or destroy the stone. The most commonly used medical procedure for
kidney stones is
extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. This treatment
uses sound waves that pass easily through the body but are strong enough to
break up a kidney stone.
For a blockage that cannot be removed, your doctor can use a catheter or a
stent to reroute the urine flow around the blockage. Placing a catheter in the bladder to empty it
can quickly relieve symptoms and allow kidney function to return to
Most people regain normal kidney function if the condition is reversed
If the obstruction is not relieved, the waste buildup
and pressure on the kidneys may damage kidney tissue. Acute renal failure is
much harder to reverse after damage to the kidneys has occurred.
Liu KD, Chertow GM (2008). Acute renal failure. In AS
Fauci et al., eds., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1752-1761. New York:
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
May 10, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 10, 2011
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