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Alternative Names Return to topKidney damage; Toxic injury of the kidney; Kidney injury; Traumatic injury of the kidney; Fractured kidney; Inflammatory injury of the kidney; Bruised kidney; Ureteral injury
Definition Return to top
Injury to the kidney and ureter is damage to these organs of the upper urinary tract.
Causes Return to top
The kidneys are located in the flank (back of the upper abdomen at either side of the spinal column). They are deep in the abdomen and are protected by the spine, lower rib cage, and strong muscles of the back. This location protects the kidneys from many outside forces.
The kidneys are well-padded for a reason -- they have a large blood supply. Injury can lead to severe bleeding.
Kidneys may be injured by damage to the blood vessels that supply or drain them, including:
Kidney injuries may also be caused by:
The ureters are the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Uretral injuries may be caused by:
Symptoms Return to top
Acute or emergency symptoms may include:
If only one kidney is affected, there may be no symptoms, because the second (healthy) kidney functions well enough for normal health.
Exams and Tests Return to top
The health care provider may find the source of the injury by looking at your:
Signs may include:
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment Return to top
The goals are to treat emergency symptoms and prevent or treat complications. You may need to stay in a hospital for close observation because of the risk of internal blood loss from an injured kidney.
Nonsurgical treatments for kidney injury may include:
Surgical treatments for kidney injury may include:
Treatments for ureter injury may include:
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome depends on the cause and extent of injury. The damage may be mild and reversible, immediately life-threatening, or long-term and causing complications.
The kidney may return to normal function, or it may go into acute or chronic failure.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of an injury to the kidney or ureter, especially if you have a history of:
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have decreased urine output after a kidney injury. This may be a symptom of kidney failure.
Prevention Return to top
You can help prevent injury to the kidneys and ureter by following these precautions:
References Return to top
Molitoris BA. Acute Kidney Injury. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 121.Update Date: 9/7/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.