Acute Renal Failure Essay

2105 words 9 pages
Acute renal failure is the sudden loss of the kidneys ability to function; affecting more than 100,000 people in the United States alone each year (NIDDK, 2008). This paper will discuss the basic pathophysiology of acute renal failure, including its cause, disease mechanisms, symptoms, some of the treatments and pharmacological therapies.


Acute renal failure (ARF) is the rapid loss of kidney function occurring when high levels of uremic toxins accumulate in the blood. ARF occurs when the kidneys are unable to excrete the daily load of toxins in the urine. The most common causes of ARF are dehydration, blood loss from major surgery or injury, or medications such as NSAIDs, antibiotics, or the dyes used in
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The history would include recent infections, muscle damage, surgeries, and any history of chronic illness. One of the biggest indicators of decreasing kidney function is when urine output falls below 500ml daily (Mayo clinic, 2008).Finding the cause of ARF is an important part of the diagnostic process; this can be done by several different laboratory tests. These tests can detect a buildup of waste products in the blood and chemical imbalances in the body. A serum creatinine tests for creatinine in the blood; an increase is usually the first sign of acute renal failure (Hudson, 2007). Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood that comes from the waste product urea. If the kidneys are not able to remove urea from the blood normally, the BUN level increases. Complete blood count (CBC) can be used to check for diseases or infections that could be causing renal failure. A urinalysis would be collected to look for protein and fractional excretion of sodium (FeNa) in the urine. Protein in the urine can symbolize kidney damage, and FeNa measures how well the kidneys can excrete sodium (Hudson, 2007).

ARF can also be detected by using medical imaging tests. An ultrasound is used to determine the size of the kidneys and for detecting cysts, solid masses, and kidney stones. Ultrasound can also help detect whether there is a blockage to urine flow in the kidney, the ureters, or the bladder. Even though an


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