Font Size
A
A
A
2
...

Kidney Transplant (cont.)

Kidney Failure

Various conditions can damage the kidneys, including both primary kidney diseases and other conditions that affect the kidneys.

  • If kidney damage becomes too severe, the kidneys lose their ability to function normally. This is called kidney failure.
  • Kidney failure can happen rapidly (acute kidney failure), usually in response to a severe acute (sudden, short-term) illness in another body system or in the kidneys. It is a very common complication in patients hospitalized for other reasons. It is often completely reversible with resolution of the underlying condition.
  • Kidney failure can also happen very slowly and gradually (chronic kidney failure), usually in response to a chronic (ongoing, long-term) disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Both types of kidney failure can occur in response to primary kidney disease as well. In some cases, this kidney disease is hereditary.
  • Infections and substances such as drugs and toxins can permanently scar the kidneys and lead to their failure.

People with the following conditions are at greater-than-normal risk of developing kidney failure and end-stage renal disease:

  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • High blood pressure, especially if severe or uncontrolled
  • Glomerular diseases (These are conditions that damage the glomeruli, such as glomerulonephritis.)
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Severe injury or burns
  • Major surgery
  • Heart disease or heart attack
  • Liver disease or liver failure
  • Vascular diseases (These conditions, including progressive systemic sclerosis, renal artery thrombosis [blood clot], and scleroderma, block blood flow to different parts of the body.)
  • Inherited kidney diseases (polycystic kidney disease, congenital obstructive uropathy, cystinosis, prune belly syndrome)
  • Diseases affecting the tubules and other structures in the kidneys (acquired obstructive nephropathy, acute tubular necrosis, acute interstitial nephritis)
  • Amyloidosis
  • Taking antibiotics, cyclosporin, heroin, and chemotherapy (These can cause inflammation of kidney structures.)
  • Gout
  • Certain cancers (incidental carcinoma, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, renal cell carcinoma, Wilms tumor)
  • HIV infection
  • Vesicoureteral reflux (This is a urinary tract problem.)
  • Past kidney transplant (graft failure)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
Chronic kidney failure is associated with complications that can be debilitating or have a negative effect on quality of life.
  • Anemia
  • Fluid retention
  • Pulmonary edema (This is fluid retention in the lungs that can cause breathing problems.)
  • High blood pressure from chemical imbalances and fluid retention
  • Renal osteodystrophy (This is weakening of the bones from calcium depletion, which can cause bones to fracture easily.)
  • Amyloidosis (This is deposition of abnormal proteins in the joints, which causes arthritis-like symptoms.)
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Bleeding problems
  • Neurological damage
  • Sleeping problems related to dialysis
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/3/2015
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Kidney Transplant

Acute Kidney Failure
Acute Kidney Failure Kidney failure, or the ability of the kidneys to filter water and waste is caused by prerenal, postrenal, or renal problems with the kidney(s). Symptoms of kidn...learn more >>
Antibiotics
Antibiotics Antibiotics are prescribed to individuals to cure disease by killing bacteria. There are over 100 antibiotics. The main classes of antibiotics include penicilli...learn more >>
Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy Chemotherapy or "chemo" is a treatment for cancer. Depending on the type of cancer an individual has, it can cure cancer, control cancer. or ease cancer symptom...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Kidney Transplant:

Kidney Transplant - Procedure

How did your kidney transplant procedure go?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Renal Transplantation (Medical) »

Kidney transplantation should be strongly considered for all patients who are medically suitable with chronic and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary