Medical History and Physical Exam for Acute Renal Failure
If your doctor suspects
acute renal failure, he or she will use your medical
history and a physical exam to help find out the cause. This will include a
review of your health history and hospital chart (if you are currently
hospitalized). Your doctor will look for:
Fluid intake and output.
Reduced urine output (oliguria) occurs in about half of the people who have acute
Changes in blood pressure. A sudden and prolonged
decrease in blood pressure is a common cause of acute renal failure, because it
reduces blood flow to the kidneys. Very high blood pressure (hypertensive
crisis) also may cause acute renal failure. New increases in blood pressure may
result from abnormal fluid buildup in the body (volume
Problems with heart (cardiac) and lung (respiratory)
Abdominal (belly), pelvic, and rectal problems.
conditions. Symptoms such as a rash, bruising, blue fingertips or toes, or
swelling in the arms, legs, and face may be signs of the degree of fluid buildup
and may suggest possible causes of acute renal failure.
For example, damage to the kidneys or a blockage in the urinary tract may cause
pain in the sides and lower back (flank pain). Joint pain and swelling also may
suggest the presence of an undiagnosed disease, such as
lupus, that could be causing acute renal
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
May 10, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 10, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this
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