Postrenal acute renal failure

Postrenal 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% of acute renal failure cases.1

A 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:

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 occurs. Most people regain normal kidney function if the condition is reversed promptly.

If the obstruction is not relieved, the waste buildup and pressure on the kidneys may damage kidney tissue. Acute renal failure is much more difficult to reverse after damage to the kidneys has occurred.

Citations

  1. 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: McGraw-Hill.

Last Updated: June 3, 2009

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