Treatment for acute kidney failure typically requires a hospital stay. Most people with acute kidney failure are already hospitalized. How long you'll stay in the hospital depends on the reason for your acute kidney failure and how quickly your kidneys recover.
Treating the underlying cause of your kidney failure
Treatment for acute kidney failure involves identifying the illness or injury that originally damaged your kidneys. Your treatment options will depend on what's causing your kidney failure.
Treating complications until your kidneys recover
Your doctor will also work to prevent complications and allow your kidneys time to heal. Treatments that help prevent complications include:
July 06, 2012
- Treatments to balance the amount of fluids in your blood. If your acute kidney failure is caused by a lack of fluids in your blood, your doctor may recommend intravenous (IV) fluids. In other cases, acute kidney failure may cause you to have too much fluid, leading to swelling in your arms and legs. In these cases, your doctor may recommend medications (diuretics) to cause your body to expel extra fluids.
- Medications to control blood potassium. If your kidneys aren't properly filtering potassium from your blood, your doctor may prescribe calcium, glucose or sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kayexalate, Kionex) to prevent the accumulation of high levels of potassium in your blood. Too much potassium in the blood can cause dangerous irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and muscle weakness.
- Medications to restore blood calcium levels. If the levels of calcium in your blood drop too low, your doctor may recommend an infusion of calcium.
- Dialysis to remove toxins from your blood. If toxins build up in your blood, you may need temporary hemodialysis — often referred to simply as dialysis — to help remove toxins and excess fluids from your body while your kidneys heal. Dialysis may also help remove excess potassium from your body. During dialysis, a machine pumps blood out of your body through an artificial kidney (dialyzer) that filters out waste. The blood is then returned to your body.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..C2009-0-38984-9--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&about=true&uniqId=236797353-5. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=291436269-101. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Acute kidney injury nutrition therapy. Nutrition Care Manual. American Dietetic Association. http://nutritioncaremanual.org/index.cfm. Accessed May 29, 2012.
- Reclast (zoledronic acid): Drug Safety Communication - New contraindication and updated warning on kidney impairment. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm270199.htm. Accessed May 31, 2012.
- Reclast (prescribing information). East Hanover, N.J.: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.; 2011. http://www.pharma.us.novartis.com/product/pi/pdf/reclast.pdf. Accessed May 31, 2012.
- Zometa (prescribing information). East Hanover, N.J.: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.; 2011. http://www.pharma.us.novartis.com/product/pi/pdf/Zometa.pdf. Accessed May 31, 2012.
- Eat right to feel right on hemodialysis. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/eatright/index.aspx. Accessed June 13, 2012.
- Albright RC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 11, 2012.
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