Kidney Injuries that Require Emergency Care
Kidneys are vulnerable to external-force trauma under certain conditions. Baptist Hospital emergency teams can assess the extent of injury and arrange for appropriate levels of care, ranging from conservative management to surgical intervention.
What is Kidney Trauma?
Your kidneys are critical to good health. They serve as the body’s filtration system, removing nitrogenous wastes and excess water from the blood stream. The body expels these wastes as urine.
Renal trauma occurs when a kidney is injured by an outside force. These traumas are categorized as either blunt or penetrating, depending on whether the object causing the injury breaks the skin. Blunt trauma can result from falls, accidents, or high-contact sports like football, boxing, and ice hockey. Knife wounds are a source of penetrating trauma. The danger they pose is disruption of the kidney’s blood-cleaning function, along with bleeding and infection.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Trauma?
The single most common indicator of kidney trauma is hematuria – blood in the urine. Others include abdominal pain, lower back pain, signs of internal bleeding, difficulty urinating, fever, and, in some cases, shock.
There are several other potential causes of renal failure besides traumatic injury. These include hypertension (high blood pressure), chronic heart failure, diabetes, chronic infections, connective tissue disorders, and autoimmune diseases.
What Are My Treatment Options for Kidney Trauma?
Diagnosis of a traumatic kidney condition usually involves a physical exam and a urine test. The physician will ask about your symptoms and any incidents that were relevant to sustaining the injury. In more serious cases, he or she may also order a CAT scan.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. Minor injuries can be dealt with through bed rest and carefully monitored fluid intake. More serious injuries require control of blood loss and shock avoidance. The most serious cases will involve surgical repair or the removal of the damaged organ – a nephrectomy. All of these services can be performed or arranged by the medical staff in a Baptist Health Emergency Department.
Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency
In any medical crisis, it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you program all emergency numbers into your cell phone or keep a list by your telephone at home. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.
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