Acute Kidney Failure
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 — also called acute renal failure or acute kidney injury — 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.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor immediately or seek emergency care if you have signs or symptoms of acute kidney failure.
Acute kidney failure can occur when:
You have a condition that slows blood flow to your kidneys
You experience direct damage to your kidneys
Your kidneys' urine drainage tubes (ureters) become blocked and wastes can't leave your body through your urine

Impaired blood flow to the kidneys
Diseases and conditions that may slow blood flow to the kidneys and lead to kidney injury include:

Damage to the kidneys
These diseases, conditions and agents may damage the kidneys and lead to acute kidney failure:

Urine blockage in the kidneys
Diseases and conditions that block the passage of urine out of the body (urinary obstructions) and can lead to acute kidney injury include:

Risk factors
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:

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:

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:

Treatment for acute kidney failure typically requires a hospital stay. Most people with acute kidney failure are already hospitalized. How long you'll stay in the hospital depends on the reason for your acute kidney failure and how quickly your kidneys recover.
In some cases, you may be able to recover at home.

Treating the underlying cause of your kidney injury
Treatment for acute kidney failure involves identifying the illness or injury that originally damaged your kidneys. Your treatment options depend on what's causing your kidney failure.
Treating complications until your kidneys recover
Your doctor will also work to prevent complications and allow your kidneys time to heal. Treatments that help prevent complications include:

Lifestyle and home remedies
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.
Preparing for your appointment
Most people are already hospitalized when they develop acute kidney failure. If you or a loved one develops signs and symptoms of kidney failure, bring up your concerns with your doctor or nurse.
If you aren't in the hospital, but have signs or symptoms of kidney failure, make an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner. If your doctor suspects you have kidney problems, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in kidney disease (nephrologist).
Before your meeting with the doctor, write down your questions. Consider asking:

Our Experts