Acute Kidney Injury | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of an acute kidney injury?

Symptoms of an acute kidney injury come on suddenly, over the course of hours or days. They depend on the underlying cause, but some of the most common symptoms include:

  • hemorrhage (heavy bleeding)
  • fever
  • rash
  • bloody diarrhea
  • severe vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • no urine output or high urine output
  • pale skin
  • edema (swelling of the tissues)
  • swelling around the eye
  • detectable abdominal mass

If your child has these symptoms, they may be especially at risk of AKI if she has or has had any of the following:

  • recent infection
  • dehydration
  • recent surgery
  • trauma
  • exposure to heavy metals or toxic solvents

    What causes an acute kidney injury?

    An acute kidney injury is often caused by a sudden decrease in blood and/or oxygen flow to your child’s kidneys. This could follow:

    • an accident
    • Surgery
    • a condition that obstructs blood flow, like cardiac arrest

    An acute kidney injury may also occur if your child:

    • takes certain medications that may be toxic to the kidneys
    • injures her abdomen or back, like a bike-riding accident that results in a fall over the handlebars, or a skiing accident
    • develops a sudden obstruction or blockage in her urinary tract, such as a kidney stone, that prevents urine from leaving the body
    • contracts an infection such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), usually caused by the E. coli bacteria, resulting in the blockage of the structures and blood vessels in the kidney
    • is born with blood vessel abnormalities that cut off blood flow to the kidneys
    • has another disease or condition that damages the kidneys, such as glomerulonephritis or lupus