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Acute Kidney Failure Sometimes Requires Kidney Transplant

male physician comforting a female patientThe kidneys are a pair of internal organs that are responsible for filtering the body’s blood stream. When healthy, these organs remove waste, toxins, and other natural by-products and excrete them along with water in the form of urine. Because the kidneys serve as the body’s natural filtration system, they are extremely important, which is why any condition affecting the kidneys is taken very seriously.

One of the most significant kidney conditions that can occur is known as acute kidney failure, or acute renal failure. This describes a situation where the body’s kidney function abruptly fails. When this happens, there are a variety of treatments that might be recommended by a physician, with a kidney transplant being reserved for patients who have experienced significant damage to their kidney tissue and for whom long-term dialysis is not advisable.

Acute kidney failure is most commonly seen in older patients, many of whom are dealing with other health problems and are already hospitalized. Generally speaking, acute kidney failure can be traced to:

  • Conditions that prevent blood from flowing naturally to the kidneys, which can be explained by extreme low blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or heart attack, severe dehydration or burns, allergic reactions, the use of certain medication, and other similar factors.
  • Kidney damage, which can be caused by an acute kidney injury or traced to blood clots, high cholesterol, infection, lupus, and alcohol or narcotics overdoses, among others.
  • Urinary obstructions, which prevent urine from passing out of the body. These obstructions can be caused by prostate enlargement, kidney stones, blood clots, and advanced forms of colon, cervical, prostate, and bladder cancer.

While acute kidney failure can often be managed with diuretics, medication, or dialysis, a kidney transplant may be recommended in end-stage renal failure. Transplant kidneys can be provided by a matching donor – either living or recently deceased – and the prognosis following a transplant is quite good.

For more information about the transplant selection criteria for patients with a severe kidney condition, such as acute kidney failure, or to learn about Tampa General Hospital’s Kidney Transplant Program, please call 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the kidney transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.