Acute kidney failure occurs when your kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products from your blood. When your kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of wastes may accumulate, and your blood's chemical makeup may get out of balance.
Acute kidney failure â also called acute renal failure or acute kidney injury â develops rapidly, usually in less than a few days. Acute kidney failure is most common in people who are already hospitalized, particularly in critically ill people who need intensive care.
Acute kidney failure can be fatal and requires intensive treatment. However, acute kidney failure may be reversible. If you're otherwise in good health, you may recover normal or nearly normal kidney function.
Signs and symptoms of acute kidney failure may include:
Sometimes acute kidney failure causes no signs or symptoms and is detected through lab tests done for another reason.
See your doctor immediately or seek emergency care if you have signs or symptoms of acute kidney failure.
Acute kidney failure can occur when:
Diseases and conditions that may slow blood flow to the kidneys and lead to kidney injury include:
These diseases, conditions and agents may damage the kidneys and lead to acute kidney failure:
Diseases and conditions that block the passage of urine out of the body (urinary obstructions) and can lead to acute kidney injury include:
If your signs and symptoms suggest that you have acute kidney failure, your doctor may recommend certain tests and procedures to verify your diagnosis. These may include:
Potential complications of acute kidney failure include:
Acute kidney failure is often difficult to predict or prevent. But you may reduce your risk by taking care of your kidneys. Try to:
During your recovery from acute kidney failure, your doctor may recommend a special diet to help support your kidneys and limit the work they must do. Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian who can analyze your current diet and suggest ways to make your diet easier on your kidneys.
Depending on your situation, your dietitian may recommend that you:
As your kidneys recover, you may no longer need to eat a special diet, although healthy eating remains important.
Acute kidney failure almost always occurs in connection with another medical condition or event. Conditions that can increase your risk of acute kidney failure include: