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Renal vein thrombosis

Blood clot in the renal vein; Occlusion - renal vein

Renal vein thrombosis is a blood clot that develops in the vein that drains blood from the kidney.

Causes

Renal vein thrombosis is an uncommon disorder. It may be caused by:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Hypercoagulable state: clotting disorders
  • Dehydration (mostly in infants)
  • Estrogen use
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Scar formation with pressure on the renal vein
  • Trauma (to the back or abdomen)
  • Tumor

In adults, the most common cause is nephrotic syndrome. In infants, the most common cause is dehydration.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

An exam may not reveal the specific problem. However, it may indicate nephrotic syndrome or other causes of renal vein thrombosis.

Tests include:

Treatment

The treatment helps to prevent the formation of new clots and reduces the risk of clot traveling to other locations in the body (embolization).

You may get medicines that prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants). You may be told to rest in bed or cut down on activity for a short time.

If sudden kidney failure develops, you may need dialysis for a short period.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Renal vein thrombosis most often gets better over time without lasting damage to the kidneys.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

  • Acute renal failure (especially if thrombosis occurs in a dehydrated child)
  • End stage renal disease
  • Blood clot moves to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Formation of new blood clots

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of renal vein thrombosis.

If you have experienced renal vein thrombosis, call your provider if you have:

For more information on testing, diagnostic, surgical and treatment services available at Huron Regional Medical Center, click here. The medical staff at HRMC includes full-time primary and specialty physicians to care for your whole family, as well as visiting specialists who see patients in HRMC'S Specialty Clinic, HRMC Physicians Clinic and other local clinics. Learn more by visiting our online Find-a-Doc directory.

Prevention

In most cases, there is no specific way to prevent renal vein thrombosis. Keeping enough fluids in the body may help reduce risk.

Aspirin is sometimes used to prevent renal vein thrombosis in people who have had a kidney transplant. Blood thinners such as warfarin may be recommended for some people with chronic kidney disease.

References

Dubose TD, Santos RM. Vascular disorders of the kidney. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 125.

Greco BA, Umanath K. Renovascular hypertension and ischemic nephropathy. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 41.

Ruggenenti P, Cravedi P, Remuzzi G. Microvascular and macrovascular diseases of the kidney. In: Skorecki K, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, Taal MW, Yu ASL, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 35.

  • Kidney anatomy

    Kidney anatomy - illustration

    The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes from the body, regulating electrolyte balance and blood pressure, and the stimulation of red blood cell production.

    Kidney anatomy

    illustration

  • Kidney - blood and urine flow

    Kidney - blood and urine flow - illustration

    This is the typical appearance of the blood vessels (vasculature) and urine flow pattern in the kidney. The blood vessels are shown in red and the urine flow pattern in yellow.

    Kidney - blood and urine flow

    illustration

    • Kidney anatomy

      Kidney anatomy - illustration

      The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes from the body, regulating electrolyte balance and blood pressure, and the stimulation of red blood cell production.

      Kidney anatomy

      illustration

    • Kidney - blood and urine flow

      Kidney - blood and urine flow - illustration

      This is the typical appearance of the blood vessels (vasculature) and urine flow pattern in the kidney. The blood vessels are shown in red and the urine flow pattern in yellow.

      Kidney - blood and urine flow

      illustration

    Tests for Renal vein thrombosis

     

     

    Review Date: 4/15/2019

    Reviewed By: Walead Latif, MD, nephrologist and Clinical Associate Professor, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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