Kidney Failure




Kidney failure, also known as renal failure or renal insufficiency, is a medical condition of impaired kidney function in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter metabolic wastes from the blood.

Kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. When your kidneys fail, it means they have stopped working well enough for you to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant.


People who are most at risk for kidney failure usually have one or more of the following causes:

Loss of blood flow to the kidneys

A sudden loss of blood flow to your kidneys can prompt kidney failure. Some diseases and conditions that cause loss of blood flow to the kidneys include:

A heart attack

Heart disease

Scarring of the liver or liver failure


A severe burn

An allergic reaction

A severe infection, such as sepsis

High blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also limit blood flow.

Urine elimination problems

When your body can’t eliminate urine, toxins build up and overload the kidneys. Some cancers can block the urine passageways. These include prostate (most common type in men), colon, cervical, and bladder cancers.

Other conditions can interfere with urination and possibly lead to kidney failure, including:

Kidney stones

An enlarged prostate

Blood clots within your urinary tract

Damage to the nerves that control your bladder

Other causes

Some diseases and conditions may lead to kidney failure, including:

a blood clot in or around your kidneys


an overload of toxins from heavy metals

drugs and alcohol

vasculitis, an inflammation of blood vessels

lupus, an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation of many body organs

glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the small blood vessels of the kidneys

haemolytic uremic syndrome, which involves the breakdown of red blood cells following a bacterial infection, usually of the intestines

multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in your bone marrow

scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that affects your skin

thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a disorder that causes blood clots in small vessels

chemotherapy drugs, medications that treat cancer and some autoimmune diseases

dyes used in some imaging tests

certain antibiotics

Uncontrolled diabetes.


Possible symptoms include:

A reduced amount of urine

swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet from retention of fluids caused by the failure of your kidneys to eliminate water waste

unexplained shortness of breath

excessive drowsiness or fatigue

persistent nausea


pain or pressure in your chest