Injury - kidney and ureter

Definition

Injury to the kidney and ureter is damage to the organs of the upper urinary tract.

Causes

The kidneys are located in the flank at either side of the spine. The flank is the back of the upper abdomen. They are protected by the spine, lower rib cage, and strong muscles of the back. This location protects the kidneys from many outside forces. The kidneys are also surrounded by a layer of fat. The fat helps to cushion them.

The kidneys have a large blood supply. Any injury to them, can lead to severe bleeding. The many layers of padding help prevent kidney injury.

Kidneys may be injured by damage to the blood vessels that supply or drain them, including:

Kidney injuries may also be caused by:

The ureters are the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Ureteral injuries may be caused by:

Symptoms

Emergency symptoms may include:

Long-term (chronic) symptoms may include:

If only one kidney is affected and the other kidney is healthy, you may not have any symptoms.

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will examine you. Let them know about any recent illness or if you have come into contact with toxic substances.

The exam may show:

Tests that may be done include:

Treatment

The goals are to treat emergency symptoms and prevent or treat complications. You may need to stay in a hospital.

Treatments for a kidney injury may include:

Sometimes, surgery is needed. This may include:

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well you do depends on the cause and severity of the injury.

Sometimes, the kidney starts working properly again. Sometimes, kidney failure occurs.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have symptoms of an injury to the kidney or ureter. Call the provider if you have a history of:

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have decreased urine output after a kidney injury. This may be a symptom of kidney failure.

Prevention

You can help prevent injury to the kidneys and ureter by taking these steps:


Review Date: 7/17/2018
Reviewed By: Sovrin M. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.