Skip to Content

Acute Kidney Injury


Acute kidney injury, also called acute kidney failure, 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. Acute kidney injury is usually temporary, but it may 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.


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

Intake and output:

Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are receiving each day. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day.


  • Vasopressor medicine helps increase blood flow to your kidneys and other organs.
  • Diuretics help get rid of extra fluid. They also help protect your kidneys.
  • Steroids are used to decrease inflammation in your kidneys.


  • Blood and urine tests show how well your kidneys are working. They may also show the cause of your acute kidney injury.
  • An x-ray or ultrasound may show the cause of your acute kidney injury. 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.


  • IV fluids may be given to help your kidneys function better.
  • Dialysis is a treatment to remove chemicals and waste from your blood when your kidneys cannot.


Treatment may increase your risk for bleeding or an infection. Acute kidney injury 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. Acute kidney injury 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 caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.