Acute tubular necrosis is a condition that impairs a region of the kidneys. This can occur due to the lack of oxygen and blood flow to the kidneys. The condition can also result to acute kidney failure.
The kidneys have tube-shaped structures or tubules that filter waste products and fluid. These structures are damaged if acute tubular necrosis develops. Once this occurs, acute kidney failure can arise.
What are the causes?
Various issues can lead to acute tubular necrosis. Nevertheless, the usual causes include conditions that lower the amount of oxygen to the kidneys such as:
- Heart attack
- Certain chemicals such as anesthesia, x-ray contrast dye, antibiotics and other toxic chemicals
What are the indications?
There are various symptoms that might be present which include the following:
- Dehydration or excessive thirst
- Reduced urine output
- Swelling and fluid retention
- Difficulty waking up or drowsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
The treatment of the underlying cause is vital to allow the kidneys to recover. Even though the kidneys have the capability to self-heal, it is necessary to follow some dietary limitations that include reducing the sodium, fluid and potassium intake.
This helps in preventing the accumulation of these substances while the kidneys are recovering. Diuretics and potassium-controlling medications might be prescribed as well. In some instances, dialysis might be required until the kidney function improves.
What is the outlook?
Acute tubular necrosis can last for a few days or up to several weeks. Among healthy individuals, the condition is usually reversible. As for those with other health ailments, the recovery might take longer and may not be complete.
Proper blood flow and oxygenation to the kidneys can minimize the chances of developing acute tubular necrosis.
- If there is a need to undergo a test using a contrast dye, drinking more water before and after.
- Make sure that the blood for transfusion is properly cross-matched.
- Work closely with a doctor in controlling diseases the can impair the kidneys such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and liver disease.
- Avoid over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications especially those with kidney disease