Acute kidney failure: types, symptoms and treatment options

Last Updated on March 14, 2023 by Dr. Saqib Mueed

Acute kidney failure (AKF) A kidney disease in which our kidney suddenly loses their tendency to excrete salt, water, and waste materials from the blood.

How we detect Acute kidney failure

If a person has acute kidney failure, then the doctor suggests the following test which is given below:

  1. Urine output measurement
  2. Urine tests
  3. Blood tests
  4. Imaging tests
  5. Sample of kidney tissue removal for testing

Urine output measurement

In this case doctor measure how much, you urinate in 24 hours.

Urine test:

In this case a sample of urine is analyzed.

Blood test:

In this case a sample of blood is taken which describe urea and creatinine high level.

Imaging test:

In this case doctor use different imaging test such as ultrasound and tomography to detect.

Sample of kidney tissue removal for testing:

In this case a doctor suggests kidney biopsy for sample of kidney removal for lab testing.

Feature of Acute failure of the kidney

  • It is also called renal failure of kidney and acute injury 
  • Within a few days it develops rapidly
  • Acute failure of kidney may be reversible

Acute failure of kidney symptoms

  • Urine output is decreased but in some cases output of urine remain constant
  • Swelling in legs ankle and feet occur due to retention of fluid
  • Breathless
  • Tiredness
  • Unsureness
  • Retching
  • Deficiency
  • Arrhythmia
  • Coronary infraction

The disease which causes kidney diseases

  • Blood clots in kidney veins and arteries cause kidney disease
  • Cholesterol deposit that blocks blood flow in kidney cause kidney disease
  • Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of tiny tubules of kidney) cause kidney disease
  • Syndrome of hemolytic uremic (syndrome occur due to red blood cells premature destruction) cause kidney disease
  • Lupus (disorder of immune system that become a reason of glomerulonephritis) cause kidney disease
  • During imaging test usage of medicine and chemotherapy drug cause kidney disease
  • Scleroderma (rare diseases group that belonging to the skin and connective tissue) cause disease
  • Alcohol, heavy metals toxin and cocaine can cause kidney disease
  • Muscle tissue breakdown can cause kidney disease
  • Breakdown of tumor cells also cause kidney disease

Phases of acute failure of kidney /acute injury of the kidney

Acute injury of  kidney have four different phases which are given below

  1. Onset phase
  2. Oliguria phase
  3. Diuretic phase
  4. Recovery phase

Onset phase:

In this phase injury of kidney occur.

Oliguria phase:

urine output concentration is decreased during this phase due to renal tubules damages.

Diuretic phase:

kidney try to heal during this phase but output of urine increases and tubular damage occur.

Recovery phase:

Renal function improves during this phase.

Types of acute failure of kidney /acute injury of kidney

  1. Prerenal acute injury of the kidney
  2. Intrinsic acute injury of the kidney
  3. Post renal acute injury of the kidney

Who gets an acute failure of kidney

Anyone can get acute injury of kidney followings things that increases the chances of acute kidney diseases are given below

  • Having age of 65 and more
  • Having a renal disease
  • Having hypertension
  • Having a long-term disease such as cardiac diseases, liver diseases and diabetes
  • Having a peripheral artery disease

Treatments available for acute kidney failures

There are following treatment for acute kidney failures such as

  • Dialysis
  • Kidney transplant
  • Conservative managements


Dialysis is the treatment for removal of extra aqua, solutes and poisons from the blood of  people whose kidney are not performed the normal function properly.


A medical procedure to remove extra fluid and waste and to correct electrolytes imbalance. It is normal kidney function replacement blood is passed through a filter outside the body and filter blood is return back to body during hemodialysis.

Advantages of hemodialysis

  • It is carried out in the comfort of patient home
  • Effective removal of waste products
  • It is given by trained professionals
  • Rapid correction of electrolyte imbalance
  • Treatment usually occurs three times a day

Disadvantages of hemolysis

  • Require specialized staff and equipment
  • Protein loses
  • Require systematic heparinization

Peritoneal form of dialysis

Peritoneal form of dialysis is the treatment for acute failure of kidney in which abdomen or belly is lined to filter blood inside body. Lining is called peritoneum.

Automated peritoneal dialysis

It is automated process that used a machine called cycler. It is occurred in different time or at different places or while sleep.

Kidney transplant

A treatment in which a kidney is transplanted

Procedure of kidney transplant:

General anesthesia is required for a kidney transplant, so the patient not awake during this procedure. Heartbeat, hypertension, and blood sugar level throughout the procedure are monitored by the surgical team who monitor a process incision is make in the lower part of the abdomen by the surgeon during this surgery and place the kidney into body then the question is raised why this procedure occurs?

The answer to this question is that this treatment is necessary when patient own kidney is causing complication like hypertension, kidney, stone pain or infection. The recently developed kidney blood vessels are combined to the blood vessels present in the below part of the patient’s belly. The new kidney bladder (a tube that connects the kidney to the bladder) is connected to the patient’s bladder.

How can a person live with a kidney transplant

The expecting life expectancy of a patient undergoing dialysis is generally five years. Secondly, a patient who takes renal transplantation can live more year than the patient receives dialysis. On average a living donor renal functions twelve to twenty years while an expired donor renal may work for eight to twelve years. [1][2]Kidney Failure: Symptoms, Causes & Diagnosis – Urology Care Foundation ([3]Renal Failure – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (

Reviewed by:

Dr. Saeed uz Zaman


Medical specialist in Sargodha civil Hospital

Our reviewers’ details, Click Here

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