What is AKI?
AKI is short for acute kidney injury.
- It means that your kidneys do not work as well as they should
- AKI usually gets better without any long-term problems
- It is not the same as chronic kidney disease (CKD) which does not get better without treatment
- This can affect other parts of your body like your lungs, heart or eyes.
AKI does not mean that you have hurt your kidneys in the same way that you can hurt other parts of your body e.g. by falling over or getting hit.
What are the symptoms of AKI?
You may not have any symptoms of AKI. It may be found after a blood test.
Or you may have symptoms that your kidneys are not working properly:
- You wee less
- The colour of your wee may change
- You feel ill
- Your legs or feet might swell up
- You feel very thirsty
What causes AKI?
AKI can be caused by:
- An infection
- A reaction to medication
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney stones
What happens if I am diagnosed with AKI?
It is important you are treated early. You will need to have some blood tests and give a sample of your wee.
You may also:
- Have a scan of your kidneys called an ultrasound
- Have a soft plastic tube called a catheter put into your bladder to drain it
- See a specialist kidney doctor
How will my AKI be treated?
This will depend on how it was caused. AKI may get better with simple treatments like drinking more water.
If you need extra fluids quickly you may need a drip that sends fluid directly into your body through a tube that is put into your arm with a needle.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked regularly.
If your kidneys are very damaged, your blood may need to be cleaned by a machine. This is called dialysis. You may only need to be on this for a short amount of time until your kidneys recover.
Recovering from an Acute Kidney Injury
Most people make a full recovery from AKI and do not need any long-term treatment.
Your doctor will check your blood pressure regularly to make sure you are doing okay.
You should check with your doctor before taking any new medicine in case it could damage your kidneys.
Acute Kidney Injury: download or order Kidney Care UK's information leaflet
You can download our Acute Kidney Injury leaflet for free.
You can also order a printed copy of Kidney Care UK’s Acute Kidney Injury leaflet to be sent to you in the post.