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What is acute renal failure?

An acute deterioration of the kidney function which may be reversible is called acute renal failure

What causes acute renal failure?

From low blood pressure causing decreased blood supply to the kidney: Can be seen in a variety of conditions, from excess loss of fluid from the body as in vomiting, diarrhea, excess bleeding (hemorrhage) usually after surgery, burns.

Injury to the kidney from drugs such as antibiotics or dyes or abnormal proteins as in myeloma. Used for imaging purpose. Some antibiotics caused direct injury (e.g. Gentamicin) while others cause are due to drug allergy called interstitial nephritis (e.g. sulfa drugs).

Obstruction to the flow of urine as in prostate enlargement, stones, or cancers constricting ureters.

Can acute renal failure be fatal?

Yes. ARF is a serious condition. In hospital admitted patients the mortality is as high as 50%.

How is ARF detected?

ARF is detected when there is an abrupt decrease in the urine output and there is a rise in the creatinine. The symptoms will depend on the underlying condition that caused it. For E.g. in excess vomiting the patient will present with signs and symptoms of volume depletion.

Is there any treatment for acute renal failure?

The treatment of ARF is directed at the underlying cause. In volume depleted patients the the blood pressure should be raised by giving fluids. blood etc. The offending drug has to be identified and stopped. In some cases dialysis may have to be started which usually is temporary.