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Acute unilateral obstructive uropathy
Alternative namesObstructive uropathy - unilateral - acute; Ureteral obstruction
Urine is drained from the kidneys through tubes called ureters. Obstructive uropathy occurs when a one or both ureters becomes blocked; the condition may be acute or chronic .
Acute unilateral obstructive uropathy involves a sudden blockage of one ureter, resulting in a backup of urine and injury to the kidney.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Unilateral obstructive uropathy occurs when urine cannot drain through a ureter because of an obstruction. Urine backs up into the kidney and causes distention of the renal pelvis and calyces ( hydronephrosis ).
The blockage is most often caused by a kidney stone , although injury or other conditions could cause the disorder.
Acute unilateral obstructive uropathy occurs in 1 in 1,000 people.
Signs and tests
A history of acute ureteric colic may indicate unilateral obstructive uropathy. Palpation of the abdomen reveals an enlarged or tender kidney. Blood pressure may or may not be elevated. Fever may or may not be present (infection).
The following tests may be conducted:
Hydronephrosis and/or obstruction of the ureter may appear on these tests:
Treatment focuses on eliminating or minimizing the obstruction.
Antibiotics may be given if there is a urinary tract infection .
Stents or drains placed in the ureter or in the renal pelvis may provide short-term relief of symptoms. Surgery to repair the underlying cause of the obstruction will usually eliminate the problem.
Nephrectomy (removal of the kidney) or nephrotomy (incision into the kidney) may be required if the kidney functions poorly or is severely infected.
Expectations (prognosis)The outcome varies. Kidney damage may be permanent. However, if the cause of the obstruction is diagnosed and treated early, the damage may be temporary. If only one kidney is involved, the other kidney usually continues to function adequately and renal insufficiency or renal failure does not occur.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if flank pain or other symptoms of acute unilateral obstructive uropathy develop.
If you are prone to kidney stones , drink plenty of water (6 to 8 glasses per day) to reduce the chances of their formation.
Research suggests that a diet low in sodium and oxalate and high in citrate significantly reduces risk of calcium-based kidney stone formation. Consult with a nutritionist for more information on such diets.
Seek medical attention if kidney stones persist or recur to identify the cause and to prevent new stones from forming.
Update Date: 5/25/2002Young Kang, M.D., Department of Urology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT