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Acute Renal Failure

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ACUTE RENAL FAILURE

Overview
Acute renal failure is the most common disease in the acute care setting. It is estimated that acute renal failure occurs in up to 25% of all patients admitted to the hospital with a critical illness (Broden, 2009). It is even noted that patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit with no prior renal insufficiencies seem to have worse outcomes than do patients who have preexisting acute renal failure (Broden, 2009). Acute renal failure is a rapid decrease in kidney function, leading to collection of metabolic waste in the body. The pathophysiology of acute renal failure is reduced blood flow to the kidneys, toxins, infections and obstruction (Broden, 2009). There are three types of acute renal failure. They are pre-renal azotemia. This is caused by poor blood flow to the kidneys. The most common causes of this are hypovolemic shock and heart failure. The second type is intra-renal acute renal failure. This is caused by infections, drugs, tumors, glomerulonephritis, and obstruction. The third type is post-renal azotemia. It is caused by an obstruction outside of the kidneys (Dirkes, 2011).

Assessment Data Ongoing comprehensive assessments are critical for the acute renal failure patient. The nurse must be attentive to the signs and symptoms of renal disease as well as complications with other organs and systems. The primary effect of acute renal failure is a decrease in urinary output that leads to fluid retention and edema. Oliguria is the classic sign with an output of less than 400 ml in 24 hours (Stroud, 2011). The decrease in filtration leads to BUN and creatinine build up in the blood as the kidney loses its ability to remove waste products. In general, the fluid volume overload experienced in acute renal failure may lead to hypertension, pulmonary edema, peripheral edema, and arrhythmias. The kidneys fail to...

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