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Acute Kidney Injury


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is also called acute kidney failure, or acute renal failure. AKI happens when your kidneys suddenly stop working correctly. Normally, the kidneys remove fluid, chemicals, and waste from your blood. These wastes are turned into urine by your kidneys. AKI usually happens over hours or days. When you have AKI, your kidneys do not remove the waste, chemicals, or extra fluid from your body. A normal amount of urine is not produced. AKI is usually temporary, it can take days to months to recover. AKI can also become a chronic kidney condition.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Intake and output:

Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are receiving each day. They will keep track of the amount you drink and the amount of IV fluids you receive. Healthcare providers may need to put a Foley catheter into your bladder. This will allow them to measure the amount of urine your body is making.


  • Blood and urine tests show how well your kidneys are working. They may also show the cause of your AKI.
  • An x-ray or ultrasound may show problems with your kidneys. Your healthcare provider may see a blockage in your kidneys. He or she may see narrowing of the artery that sends blood to your kidneys. You may be given contrast liquid to help your kidneys show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • A renal biopsy may be done if healthcare providers cannot find the cause of your acute kidney injury. It may also be done if treatment is not working to correct your AKI.


Treatment will depend on what is causing your AKI. You may need the following treatments:

  • IV fluids may be given to help your kidneys function better.
  • Dialysis is a treatment to remove waste and extra fluid from your blood when your kidneys cannot. You may need continued dialysis until your kidneys remove waste and extra fluid on their own.


A healthcare provider or dietitian may tell you to eat foods low in sodium (salt), potassium, phosphorus, or protein.


Treatment may increase your risk for bleeding or an infection. AKI increases your risk for heart and lung problems. It may also increase your risk for chronic kidney problems or kidney failure. You may need long-term kidney dialysis. AKI can become life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Acute Kidney Injury (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.