Acute Kidney Injury | Treatments

What are the treatment options for an acute kidney injury?

Treatment for acute kidney injury (AKI) usually involves three components:

Stabilizing your child’s health

To do so your child’s doctors may:

  • treat your child with diuretics and/or intravenous (IV) fluids to rebalance the fluids and minerals in her blood
  • treat infections with antibiotics
  • stabilize the blood pressure

Treating the underlying cause of your child's acute kidney injury

This may include:

  • removing an obstruction or blockage
  • stopping any medications thought to be causing or contributing to the AKI
  • using medication to treat the underlying cause

Supporting your child’s kidneys as they recover

  • close monitoring of important electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and calcium, which may also be replaced through an IV
  • medication to control blood pressure or prevent infections
  • specific diet requirements to limit the amount of toxins in your child’s bloodstream as the kidneys heal

If your child’s AKI is quite severe, her doctors may recommend dialysis, a procedure that filters and rebalances your child’s blood so that her kidneys can rest and heal. Learn more about dialysis.

Typically, your child will be weaned off dialysis as the kidneys repair themselves. In rare cases, after three months on dialysis, the kidneys still might not have regained function. This may indicate that the kidneys are unable to repair themselves enough to work properly, and your child’s doctor may recommend that she continue dialysis or begin to be evaluated for a kidney transplant.

What’s the long-term outlook for a child with an acute kidney injury?

Most children with acute kidney injury get better. After an episode of AKI, your child should consider kidney care to be a permanent part of her health care routine. She should see her doctor and have her blood pressure checked and urine tested every year to make sure that her kidney function has not deteriorated. Her doctor may also recommend that she’s followed by a nephrologist (a doctor who specializes in kidneys).

In some severe episodes of AKI, particularly if your child has another disease or condition, the kidneys may not gain back normal functionality, and your child may be a candidate for long-term dialysis and/or kidney transplant.