Topic Overview

Pre-renal acute kidney injury (AKI), which used to be called acute renal failure, occurs when a sudden reduction in blood flow to the kidney (renal hypoperfusion) causes a loss of kidney function. In pre-renal acute kidney injury, there is nothing wrong with the kidney itself.

Pre-renal acute kidney injury is the most common type of acute kidney injury. It can be a complication of almost any disease, condition, or medicine that causes a decrease in the normal amount of blood and fluid in the body.

Causes of pre-renal acute kidney injury include:

  • Severe blood loss and low blood pressure related to major cardiac or abdominal surgery, severe infection (sepsis), or injury.
  • Medicines that interfere with the blood supply to the kidneys. Medicines such as ACE inhibitors and common pain medicines (NSAIDs) commonly cause pre-renal acute kidney injury in people who already have an increased risk for kidney problems.
  • Severe dehydration caused by excessive fluid loss.
  • Severe burns.
  • Pancreatitis and liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, that create fluid shifts in the abdomen.

Treatment focuses on correcting the cause of the pre-renal acute kidney injury. Depending on the cause, the condition often reverses itself within a couple of days after normal blood flow to the kidneys has been restored. But if it is not reversed or treated successfully and quickly, pre-renal acute kidney injury can cause tissue death in the kidneys and lead to intrinsic (intrarenal) acute kidney injury.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology

Current as ofMay 3, 2017