Acute Renal Failure

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Acute renal failure (ARF) is a common syndrome which causes a rapid decline in glomerular filtration, homeostasis, disturbance of fluid volume, and accumulation of nitrogenous waste which the kidneys are unable to excrete. Acute renal failure is usually asymptomatic and normally diagnosed when standard laboratory tests show a sudden rise in blood creatinine and urea. A patient who develops acute renal failure will recover in most cases.

When the nephron is compromised, it is unable to perform the many functions required of it. Twenty percent of the blood contents get filtered through the glomerular capillaries. The blood contains water and electrolytes, protein and sugar. The body filters about 180 liters of blood per day and the entire blood volume of the body gets filtered from 19-25 times in a 24 hour period. Many abnormal kidney functions can happen when the renal system is functioning insufficiently and include:

Acid base balance may be altered in ARF from Acute tubular necrosis (ATN). This is characterized by the death of the tubule cells that form the tubule that transports urine to the ureters. ATN is also responsible for changes in urine concentration and filtration of waste.

Acute renal failure has effects on erythropoietin (EPO). Erythropoietin is a hormone that is produced in the renal cortex of the kidneys and is responsible for red blood cell production. Many patients with acute renal failure suffer from anemia due to the decrease of red blood cells from lack of this vital hormone.

The kidneys are responsible for water balance in the body as well. This is due to two important factors, the loop of Henle (found in the nephron) and anti-diuretic hormone (secreted by the pituitary gland). The two work toget...

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