Acute Tubular Necrosis

Definition

Acute tubular necrosis is damage to the tubule cells (tiny tube-shaped cells) in the kidney that results in acute kidney failure. This is a potentially serious condition that requires care from your doctor.

Anatomy of the Kidney
Glomerulonephritis
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Acute tubular necrosis can be caused by:

  • Lack of oxygen to kidney tissues from problems such as blood clots, surgical complications, severe dehydration or hemorrhage (heavy bleeding)
  • Exposure to toxic materials such as antibiotics, x-ray dyes, or anesthetics

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance for getting a disease or condition. Risk factors that increase your chance of developing acute tubular necrosis include:

  • Injury
  • Trauma
  • Surgery
  • Blood transfusion
  • Septic shock
  • Shock
  • Low blood pressure
  • Liver disease or damage
  • Drugs (aminoglycosides, amphotericin B, cyclosporine, tacrolimus)
  • X-ray dye
  • Blood transfusion reaction
  • Exposure or build up of toxic chemicals such as:
    • Crystals (uric acid, calcium phosphate)
    • Myoglobin
    • Hemaglobin

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Change in urine output
  • General swelling, fluid retention
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dehydration

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include the following:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment will focus on treating the conditions that are causing damage. Good nutrition and proper fluid intake will also help reduce stress on the kidneys during recovery. Treatment optionas may also include:

Dialysis

Dialysis is a process that uses a machine to assist or take over the work of your kidneys. The blood flows from catheters to a machine that can remove harmful substances, then back to your body.

Medications

Certain medications may reduce the need for dialysis in certain people with acute tubular necrosis.

Prevention

Acute tubular necrosis is sometimes the result of an accident. If you have kidney disease or a history of kidney problems, follow your doctor's instructions after surgical procedures or imaging test that required contrast dyes.

Revisions

All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.

Don’t forget to laugh. Enjoying a joke, funny movie or light-hearted book can brighten your mood and decrease your stress.