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Treatment of Acute Renal Failure

Treatment of acute renal failure usually should be conservative and largely supportive. It requires careful and precise management. All patients will require close monitoring, many of them within intensive care settings.

Supportive care includes stabilizing the patient, monitoring input and output strictly, weighing daily, determining electrolyte values frequently, preventing sepsis via reducing the number of intravenous lines and removing an indwelling urinary


Rapid volume replacement and treatment of the underlying condition that resulted in prerenal failure are the cornerstones of therapy. Initial fluid administration of isotonic saline (0.9%) or 5% albumin (10 to 20 mL/kg per dose) should be used to restore intravascular volume. This can be both a diagnostic and a therapeutic trial. Fluid administration also can convert oliguric to nonoliguric renal failure in its early stage.

Unless a patient is suffering congestive heart failure (CHF), fluid


Therapy for postrenal failure includes removal of obstruction by decompression or diversion of the urinary tract, stabilization of electrolyte abnormalities, management of postobstructive diuresis, and therapy for voiding dysfunction and for urinary tract infection. Surgical intervention will require urologic consultation. The site of the obstruction will determine the approach: placement of a Foley catheter, vesicostomy, ureteral catheters (stents), or nephrostomy tubes. Prompt relief of a partial


Maintaining Balance of Fluid and Electrolytes

In a euvolemic state, fluid intake, including water generated from endogenous metabolism (insensible fluid gain), is balanced by fluid output. Most of the

Treating Hypertension

Kidney failure in any form can present as hypertension and hypertensive encephalopathy. It is essential to lower the blood pressure quickly and safely. The blood pressure should be reduced by at least 25% within 1 hour with an antihypertensive medicine whose onset of action is rapid. It is advisable to start with one antihypertensive medicine and increase the dose to its maximum recommended level. Therapy is individualized and needs titration (Table 6). In most cases, hypertension is the result of sodium and fluid retention, but other factors, such as activation of the renin-aldosterone-angiotensin II and/or the alpha-adrenergic system, may have roles as kidney failure kidney transplant, transplantation