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Alternative Names Return to topHydronephrosis
Definition Return to top
Unilateral hydronephrosis is swelling of one kidney due to a backup of urine.
See also: Bilateral hydronephrosis
Causes Return to top
Hydronephrosis is a condition that occurs with a disease. It is not a disease itself. Conditions that are often associated with unilateral hydronephrosis include:
Unilateral hydronephrosis occurs in approximately 1 in 100 people.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Unilateral hydronephrosis is usually identified with tests such as the following:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment and prognosis for unilateral hydronephrosis depend on what is causing the kidney swelling. Treatment may include:
Patients who have only one kidney, who have immune-compromising disorders such as diabetes or HIV, or who have received a transplant should be treated promptly.
Preventative antibiotics may be prescribed to decrease the risk of urinary tract infections in patients who have long-term hydronephrosis.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Prolonged hydronephrosis results in the eventual loss of kidney function.
Possible Complications Return to top
If hydronephrosis is left untreated, the affected kidney may be permanently damaged. Kidney insufficiency or kidney failure is rare with unilateral hydronephrosis because the other kidney usually functions normally. However, if the patient has only one functioning kidney, kidney failure will occur.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have prolonged or severe flank pain, or if you suspect hydronephrosis.
Prevention Return to top
Prevention of the disorders associated with unilateral hydronephrosis will prevent this condition.
References Return to top
Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007.
Goldman L, Ausiello D, et al. Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2004.Update Date: 1/24/2008 Updated by: Marc A. Greenstein, D.O., F.A.C.O.S. Urologist, Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.