Information for the public
Acute kidney injury
The kidneys clean the blood by removing waste products. Many different conditions can lead to the kidneys not working well within hours or days. This is called acute kidney injury (known as acute renal failure in the past). Causes include: dehydration; low blood pressure; some drugs; severe infections; blockage of the waterworks (urinary tract); and the dye (called contrast medium) used for some types of scan. Acute kidney injury can happen at any age but is more common in older people, particularly those admitted to hospital. It is also common in people of all ages treated in intensive care units. Symptoms or signs of acute kidney injury can vary and include passing less urine than normal, nausea and sickness, poor appetite, swelling of the legs or other parts of the body and breathlessness.