The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs found in vertebrates. They are located on the left and right in the retroperitoneal space, and in adult humans are about 11 centimetres (4.3 in) in length. They receive blood from the paired renal arteries; blood exits into the paired renal veins. Each kidney is attached to a ureter, a tube that carries excreted urine to the bladder.
The nephron is the structural and functional unit of the kidney. Each human adult kidney contains around 1 million nephrons, while a mouse kidney contains only about 12,500 nephrons. The kidney participates in the control of the volume of various body fluid compartments, fluid osmolality, acid-base balance, various electrolyte concentrations, and removal of toxins. Filtration occurs in the glomerulus: one-fifth of the blood volume that enters the kidneys is filtered. Examples of substances reabsorbed are solute-free water, sodium, bicarbonate, glucose, and amino acids. Examples of substances secreted are hydrogen, ammonium, potassium and uric acid. The kidneys also carry out functions independent of the nephron. For example, they convert a precursor of vitamin D to its active form, calcitriol; and synthesize the hormones erythropoietin and renin.
Renal physiology is the study of kidney function. Nephrology is the medical specialty which addresses diseases of kidney function: these include chronic kidney disease, nephritic and nephrotic syndromes, acute kidney injury, and pyelonephritis. Urology addresses diseases of kidney (and urinary tract) anatomy: these include cancer, renal cysts, kidney stones and ureteral stones, and urinary tract obstruction.
Procedures used in the management of kidney disease include chemical and microscopic examination of the urine (urinalysis), measurement of kidney function by calculating the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) using the serum creatinine; and kidney biopsy and CT scan to evaluate for abnormal anatomy. Dialysis and kidney transplantation are used to treat kidney failure; one (or both sequentially) of these are almost always used when renal function drops below 15%. Nephrectomy is frequently used to cure renal cell carcinoma.
Posterior view of kidneys and their external vasculature, with adjacent posterior structures labelled.
Left: location of kidneys within the body. Right: gross anatomical structures within the kidney (midsagittal cut, left kidney).
|System||Urinary system and endocrine system|
In humans, the kidneys are located high in the abdominal cavity, one on each side of the spine, and lie in a retroperitoneal position at a slightly oblique angle. The asymmetry within the abdominal cavity, caused by the position of the liver, typically results in the right kidney being slightly lower and smaller than the left, and being placed slightly more to the middle than the left kidney. The left kidney is approximately at the vertebral level T12 to L3, and the right is slightly lower. The right kidney sits just below the diaphragm and posterior to the liver. The left sits below the diaphragm and posterior to the spleen. On top of each kidney is an adrenal gland. The upper parts of the kidneys are partially protected by the 11th and 12th ribs. Each kidney, with its adrenal gland is surrounded by two layers of fat: the perirenal fat present between renal fascia and renal capsule and pararenal fat superior to the renal fascia.
The kidney is a bean-shaped structure with a convex and a concave border. A recessed area on the concave border is the renal hilum, where the renal artery enters the kidney and the renal vein and ureter leave. The kidney is surrounded by tough fibrous tissue, the renal capsule, which is itself surrounded by perirenal fat, renal fascia, and pararenal fat. The anterior (front) surface of these tissues is the peritoneum, while the posterior (rear) surface is the transversalis fascia.
The superior pole of the right kidney is adjacent to the liver. For the left kidney, it is next to the spleen. Both, therefore, move down upon inhalation.
In adult males, the kidney weighs between 125 and 170 grams. In females the weight of the kidney is between 115 and 155 grams. A Danish study measured the median renal length to be 11.2 cm (4.4 in) on the left side and 10.9 cm (4.3 in) on the right side in adults. Median renal volumes were 146 cm3 on the left and 134 cm3 on the right.
The substance, or parenchyma, of the kidney is divided into two major structures: the outer renal cortex and the inner renal medulla. Grossly, these structures take the shape of eight to 18 cone-shaped renal lobes, each containing renal cortex surrounding a portion of medulla called a renal pyramid. Between the renal pyramids are projections of cortex called renal columns. Nephrons, the urine-producing functional structures of the kidney, span the cortex and medulla. The initial filtering portion of a nephron is the renal corpuscle, which is located in the cortex. This is followed by a renal tubule that passes from the cortex deep into the medullary pyramids. Part of the renal cortex, a medullary ray is a collection of renal tubules that drain into a single collecting duct.
The tip, or papilla, of each pyramid empties urine into a minor calyx; minor calyces empty into major calyces, and major calyces empty into the renal pelvis. This becomes the ureter. At the hilum, the ureter and renal vein exit the kidney and the renal artery enters. Hilar fat and lymphatic tissue with lymph nodes surrounds these structures. The hilar fat is contiguous with a fat-filled cavity called the renal sinus. The renal sinus collectively contains the renal pelvis and calyces and separates these structures from the renal medullary tissue.
The kidneys possess no overtly moving structures.
The renal circulation supplies the blood to the kidneys via the renal arteries, left and right, which branch directly from the abdominal aorta. Despite their relatively small size, the kidneys receive approximately 20% of the cardiac output.
Each renal artery branches into segmental arteries, dividing further into interlobar arteries, which penetrate the renal capsule and extend through the renal columns between the renal pyramids. The interlobar arteries then supply blood to the arcuate arteries that run through the boundary of the cortex and the medulla. Each arcuate artery supplies several interlobular arteries that feed into the afferent arterioles that supply the glomeruli.
After filtration occurs, the blood moves through a small network of venules that converge into interlobular veins. As with the arteriole distribution, the veins follow the same pattern: the interlobular provide blood to the arcuate veins then back to the interlobar veins, which come to form the renal vein exiting the kidney for transfusion for blood.
The table below shows the path that blood takes when it travels through the glomerulus, traveling "down" the arteries and "up" the veins. However, this model is greatly simplified for clarity and symmetry. Some of the other paths and complications are described at the bottom of the table. The interlobar artery and vein (not to be confused with interlobular) are between two renal lobes, also known as the renal column (cortex region between two pyramids).
|Arteries (down)||Veins (up)|
|Abdominal aorta||Vena cava|
|Renal artery (Note 1)||Renal vein|
|Segmental arteries (Note 2)||–|
|Interlobar artery||Interlobar vein|
|Afferent arterioles||Efferent arterioles (Note 4)|
The kidney and nervous system communicate via the renal plexus, whose fibers course along the renal arteries to reach each kidney. Input from the sympathetic nervous system triggers vasoconstriction in the kidney, thereby reducing renal blood flow. The kidney also receives input from the parasympathetic nervous system, by way of the renal branches of the vagus nerve; the function of this is yet unclear. Sensory input from the kidney travels to the T10-11 levels of the spinal cord and is sensed in the corresponding dermatome. Thus, pain in the flank region may be referred from corresponding kidney.
About 20,000 protein coding genes are expressed in human cells and almost 70% of these genes are expressed in normal, adult kidneys. Just over 300 genes are more specifically expressed in the kidney, with only some 50 genes being highly specific for the kidney. Many of the corresponding kidney specific proteins are expressed in the cell membrane and function as transporter proteins. The highest expressed kidney specific protein is uromodulin, the most abundant protein in urine with functions that prevent calcification and growth of bacteria. Specific proteins are expressed in the different compartments of the kidney with podocin and nephrin expressed in glomeruli, Solute carrier family protein SLC22A8 expressed in proximal tubules, calbindin expressed in distal tubules and aquaporin 2 expressed in the collecting duct cells.
The mammalian kidney develops from intermediate mesoderm. Kidney development, also called nephrogenesis, proceeds through a series of three successive developmental phases: the pronephros, mesonephros, and metanephros. The metanephros are primordia of the permanent kidney.
The microscopic structural and functional unit of the kidney is the nephron. It processes the blood supplied to it via filtration, reabsorption, secretion and excretion; the consequence of those processes is the production of urine.
Filtration, which takes place at the renal corpuscle, is the process by which cells and large proteins are retained while materials of smaller molecular weights are filtered from the blood to make an ultrafiltrate that eventually becomes urine. The kidney generates 180 liters of filtrate a day. The process is also known as hydrostatic filtration due to the hydrostatic pressure exerted on the capillary walls.
Reabsorption is the transport of molecules from this ultrafiltrate and into the peritubular capillary. It is accomplished via selective receptors on the luminal cell membrane. Water is 55% reabsorbed in the proximal tubule. Glucose at normal plasma levels is completely reabsorbed in the proximal tubule. The mechanism for this is the Na+/glucose cotransporter. A plasma level of 350 mg/dL will fully saturate the transporters and glucose will be lost in the urine. A plasma glucose level of approximately 160 is sufficient to allow glucosuria, which is an important clinical clue to diabetes mellitus. Amino acids are reabsorbed by sodium dependent transporters in the proximal tubule. Hartnup disease is a deficiency of the tryptophan amino acid transporter, which results in pellagra.
|Location of Reabsorption||Reabsorbed nutrient||Notes|
|Early proximal tubule||Glucose (100%), amino acids (100%), bicarbonate (90%), Na+ (65%), Cl− (65%), phosphate (65%) and H2O (65%)|
|Thin descending loop of Henle||H2O||
|Thick ascending loop of Henle||Na+ (10–20%), K+, Cl−; indirectly induces para cellular reabsorption of Mg2+, Ca2+||
|Early distal convoluted tubule||Na+, Cl−||
|Collecting tubules||Na+(3–5%), H2O||
Secretion is the reverse of reabsorption: molecules are transported from the peritubular capillary through the interstitial fluid, then through the renal tubular cell and into the ultrafiltrate.
The last step in the processing of the ultrafiltrate is excretion: the ultrafiltrate passes out of the nephron and travels through a tube called the collecting duct, which is part of the collecting duct system, and then to the ureters where it is renamed urine. In addition to transporting the ultrafiltrate, the collecting duct also takes part in reabsorption.
The kidney participates in whole-body homeostasis, regulating acid-base balance, electrolyte concentrations, extracellular fluid volume, and blood pressure. The kidney accomplishes these homeostatic functions both independently and in concert with other organs, particularly those of the endocrine system. Various endocrine hormones coordinate these endocrine functions; these include renin, angiotensin II, aldosterone, antidiuretic hormone, and atrial natriuretic peptide, among others.
The kidneys excrete a variety of waste products produced by metabolism into the urine. These include the nitrogenous wastes urea, from protein catabolism, and uric acid, from nucleic acid metabolism. The ability of mammals and some birds to concentrate wastes into a volume of urine much smaller than the volume of blood from which the wastes were extracted is dependent on an elaborate countercurrent multiplication mechanism. This requires several independent nephron characteristics to operate: a tight hairpin configuration of the tubules, water and ion permeability in the descending limb of the loop, water impermeability in the ascending loop, and active ion transport out of most of the ascending limb. In addition, passive countercurrent exchange by the vessels carrying the blood supply to the nephron is essential for enabling this function.
Two organ systems, the kidneys and lungs, maintain acid-base homeostasis, which is the maintenance of pH around a relatively stable value. The lungs contribute to acid-base homeostasis by regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. The kidneys have two very important roles in maintaining the acid-base balance: to reabsorb and regenerate bicarbonate from urine, and to excrete hydrogen ions and fixed acids (anions of acids) into urine.
Maintaining water and salt level of the body. Any significant rise in plasma osmolality is detected by the hypothalamus, which communicates directly with the posterior pituitary gland. An increase in osmolality causes the gland to secrete antidiuretic hormone (ADH), resulting in water reabsorption by the kidney and an increase in urine concentration. The two factors work together to return the plasma osmolality to its normal levels.
ADH binds to principal cells in the collecting duct that translocate aquaporins to the membrane, allowing water to leave the normally impermeable membrane and be reabsorbed into the body by the vasa recta, thus increasing the plasma volume of the body.
There are two systems that create a hyperosmotic medulla and thus increase the body plasma volume: Urea recycling and the 'single effect.'
Urea is usually excreted as a waste product from the kidneys. However, when plasma blood volume is low and ADH is released the aquaporins that are opened are also permeable to urea. This allows urea to leave the collecting duct into the medulla, creating a hyperosmotic solution that "attracts" water. Urea can then re-enter the nephron and be excreted or recycled again depending on whether ADH is still present or not.
The 'single effect' describes the fact that the ascending thick limb of the loop of Henle is not permeable to water but is permeable to sodium chloride. This allows for a countercurrent exchange system whereby the medulla becomes increasingly concentrated, but at the same time setting up an osmotic gradient for water to follow should the aquaporins of the collecting duct be opened by ADH.
The kidneys secrete a variety of hormones, including erythropoietin, calcitriol, and renin. Erythropoietin is released in response to hypoxia (low levels of oxygen at tissue level) in the renal circulation. It stimulates erythropoiesis (production of red blood cells) in the bone marrow. Calcitriol, the activated form of vitamin D, promotes intestinal absorption of calcium and the renal reabsorption of phosphate. Renin is an enzyme which regulates angiotensin and aldosterone levels.
Although the kidney cannot directly sense blood, long-term regulation of blood pressure predominantly depends upon the kidney. This primarily occurs through maintenance of the extracellular fluid compartment, the size of which depends on the plasma sodium concentration. Renin is the first in a series of important chemical messengers that make up the renin–angiotensin system. Changes in renin ultimately alter the output of this system, principally the hormones angiotensin II and aldosterone. Each hormone acts via multiple mechanisms, but both increase the kidney's absorption of sodium chloride, thereby expanding the extracellular fluid compartment and raising blood pressure. When renin levels are elevated, the concentrations of angiotensin II and aldosterone increase, leading to increased sodium chloride reabsorption, expansion of the extracellular fluid compartment, and an increase in blood pressure. Conversely, when renin levels are low, angiotensin II and aldosterone levels decrease, contracting the extracellular fluid compartment, and decreasing blood pressure.
Calculations of kidney performance are an important part of physiology and can be estimated using the calculations below.
The filtration fraction is the amount of plasma that is actually filtered through the kidney. This can be defined using the equation:
Normal human FF is 20%.
Renal clearance is the volume of plasma from which the substance is completely cleared from the blood per unit time.
Kidney disease is an abnormal structure, function or process in the kidney(s). Nephrosis is non-inflammatory nephropathy and nephritis is inflammatory kidney disease. Nephrology is the subspeciality under Internal Medicine that deals with kidney function and disease states related to renal malfunction and their management including dialysis and kidney transplantation. Urology is the specialty under Surgery that deals with kidney structure abnormalities such as kidney cancer and cysts and problems with urinary tract. Nephrologists are internists, and urologists are surgeons, whereas both are often called "kidney doctors". There are overlapping areas that both nephrologists and urologists can provide care such as kidney stones and kidney related infections. Medical terms related to the kidneys commonly use terms such as renal and the prefix nephro-. The adjective renal, meaning related to the kidney, is from the Latin rēnēs, meaning kidneys; the prefix nephro- is from the Ancient Greek word for kidney, nephros (νεφρός). For example, surgical removal of the kidney is a nephrectomy, while a reduction in kidney function is called renal dysfunction.
Generally, humans can live normally with just one kidney, as one has more functioning renal tissue than is needed to survive. Only when the amount of functioning kidney tissue is greatly diminished does one develop chronic kidney disease. Renal replacement therapy, in the form of dialysis or kidney transplantation, is indicated when the glomerular filtration rate has fallen very low or if the renal dysfunction leads to severe symptoms.
Dialysis is a treatment that substitutes for the function of normal kidneys. Dialysis may be instituted when approximately 85%-90% of kidney function is lost, as indicated by a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of less than 15. Dialysis removes metabolic waste products as well as excess water and sodium (thereby contributing to regulating blood pressure); and maintains many chemical levels within the body. Life expectancy is 5–10 years for those on dialysis; some live up to 30 years. Dialysis is typically administered three times a week for several hours at free-standing dialysis centers, allowing recipients to lead an otherwise essentially normal life.
Many renal diseases are diagnosed on the basis of a detailed medical history, and physical examination. The medical history takes into account present and past symptoms, especially those of kidney disease; recent infections; exposure to substances toxic to the kidney; and family history of kidney disease.
Kidney function is tested for using blood tests and urine tests. A usual blood test is for urea and electrolytes, known as a U and E. Creatinine is also tested for. Urine tests such as urinalysis can evaluate for pH, protein, glucose, and the presence of blood. Microscopic analysis can also identify the presence of urinary casts and crystals. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) can be calculated.
Renal ultrasonography is essential in the diagnosis and management of kidney-related diseases. Other modalities, such as CT and MRI, should always be considered as supplementary imaging modalities in the assessment of renal disease.
The role of the renal biopsy is to diagnose renal disease in which the etiology is not clear based upon noninvasive means (clinical history, past medical history, medication history, physical exam, laboratory studies, imaging studies). In general, a renal pathologist will perform a detailed morphological evaluation and integrate the morphologic findings with the clinical history and laboratory data, ultimately arriving at a pathological diagnosis. A renal pathologist is a physician who has undergone general training in anatomic pathology and additional specially training in the interpretation of renal biopsy specimens.
Ideally, multiple core sections are obtained and evaluated for adequacy (presence of glomeruli) intraoperatively. A pathologist/pathology assistant divides the specimen(s) for submission for light microscopy, immunofluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy.
The pathologist will examine the specimen using light microscopy with multiple staining techniques (hematoxylin and eosin/H&E, PAS, trichrome, silver stain) on multiple level sections. Multiple immunofluorescence stains are performed to evaluate for antibody, protein and complement deposition. Finally, ultra-structural examination is performed with electron microscopy and may reveal the presence of electron-dense deposits or other characteristic abnormalities that may suggest an etiology for the patient's renal disease.
In the majority of vertebrates, the mesonephros persists into the adult, albeit usually fused with the more advanced metanephros; only in amniotes is the mesonephros restricted to the embryo. The kidneys of fish and amphibians are typically narrow, elongated organs, occupying a significant portion of the trunk. The collecting ducts from each cluster of nephrons usually drain into an archinephric duct, which is homologous with the vas deferens of amniotes. However, the situation is not always so simple; in cartilaginous fish and some amphibians, there is also a shorter duct, similar to the amniote ureter, which drains the posterior (metanephric) parts of the kidney, and joins with the archinephric duct at the bladder or cloaca. Indeed, in many cartilaginous fish, the anterior portion of the kidney may degenerate or cease to function altogether in the adult.
In the most primitive vertebrates, the hagfish and lampreys, the kidney is unusually simple: it consists of a row of nephrons, each emptying directly into the archinephric duct. Invertebrates may possess excretory organs that are sometimes referred to as "kidneys", but, even in Amphioxus, these are never homologous with the kidneys of vertebrates, and are more accurately referred to by other names, such as nephridia. In amphibians, kidneys and the urinary bladder harbour specialized parasites, monogeneans of the family Polystomatidae.
The kidneys of reptiles consist of a number of lobules arranged in a broadly linear pattern. Each lobule contains a single branch of the ureter in its centre, into which the collecting ducts empty. Reptiles have relatively few nephrons compared with other amniotes of a similar size, possibly because of their lower metabolic rate.
Birds have relatively large, elongated kidneys, each of which is divided into three or more distinct lobes. The lobes consists of several small, irregularly arranged, lobules, each centred on a branch of the ureter. Birds have small glomeruli, but about twice as many nephrons as similarly sized mammals.
The human kidney is fairly typical of that of mammals. Distinctive features of the mammalian kidney, in comparison with that of other vertebrates, include the presence of the renal pelvis and renal pyramids and a clearly distinguishable cortex and medulla. The latter feature is due to the presence of elongated loops of Henle; these are much shorter in birds, and not truly present in other vertebrates (although the nephron often has a short intermediate segment between the convoluted tubules). It is only in mammals that the kidney takes on its classical "kidney" shape, although there are some exceptions, such as the multilobed reniculate kidneys of pinnipeds and cetaceans.
Kidneys of various animals show evidence of evolutionary adaptation and have long been studied in ecophysiology and comparative physiology. Kidney morphology, often indexed as the relative medullary thickness, is associated with habitat aridity among species of mammals and diet (e.g., carnivores have only long loops of Henle).
In ancient Egypt, the kidneys, like the heart, were left inside the mummified bodies, unlike other organs which were removed. Comparing this to the biblical statements, and to drawings of human body with the heart and two kidneys portraying a set of scales for weighing justice, it seems that the Egyptian beliefs had also connected the kidneys with judgement and perhaps with moral decisions.
According to studies in modern and ancient Hebrew, various body organs in humans and animals served also an emotional or logical role, today mostly attributed to the brain and the endocrine system. The kidney is mentioned in several biblical verses in conjunction with the heart, much as the bowels were understood to be the "seat" of emotion – grief, joy and pain. Similarly, the Talmud (Berakhoth 61.a) states that one of the two kidneys counsels what is good, and the other evil.
In the sacrifices offered at the biblical Tabernacle and later on at the temple in Jerusalem, the priests were instructed to remove the kidneys and the adrenal gland covering the kidneys of the sheep, goat and cattle offerings, and to burn them on the altar, as the holy part of the "offering for God" never to be eaten.
In ancient India, according to the Ayurvedic medical systems, the kidneys were considered the beginning of the excursion channels system, the 'head' of the Mutra Srotas, receiving from all other systems, and therefore important in determining a person's health balance and temperament by the balance and mixture of the three 'Dosha's – the three health elements: Vatha (or Vata) – air, Pitta – bile, and Kapha – mucus. The temperament and health of a person can then be seen in the resulting color of the urine.
Modern Ayurveda practitioners, a practice which is characterized as pseudoscience, have attempted to revive these methods in medical procedures as part of Ayurveda Urine therapy. These procedures have been called "nonsensical" by skeptics.
The Latin term renes is related to the English word "reins", a synonym for the kidneys in Shakespearean English (e.g. Merry Wives of Windsor 3.5), which was also the time when the King James Version of the Bible was translated. Kidneys were once popularly regarded as the seat of the conscience and reflection, and a number of verses in the Bible (e.g. Ps. 7:9, Rev. 2:23) state that God searches out and inspects the kidneys, or "reins", of humans, together with the heart.
Kidneys are usually grilled or sautéed, but in more complex dishes they are stewed with a sauce that will improve their flavor. In many preparations, kidneys are combined with pieces of meat or liver, as in mixed grill. Dishes include the British steak and kidney pie, the Swedish hökarpanna (pork and kidney stew), the French rognons de veau sauce moutarde (veal kidneys in mustard sauce) and the Spanish riñones al Jerez (kidneys stewed in sherry sauce) .
Acute kidney injury (AKI), previously called acute renal failure (ARF), is an abrupt loss of kidney function that develops within 7 days.Its causes are numerous. Generally it occurs because of damage to the kidney tissue caused by decreased kidney blood flow (kidney ischemia) from any cause (e.g., low blood pressure), exposure to substances harmful to the kidney, an inflammatory process in the kidney, or an obstruction of the urinary tract that impedes the flow of urine. AKI is diagnosed on the basis of characteristic laboratory findings, such as elevated blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, or inability of the kidneys to produce sufficient amounts of urine.
AKI may lead to a number of complications, including metabolic acidosis, high potassium levels, uremia, changes in body fluid balance, and effects on other organ systems, including death. People who have experienced AKI may have an increased risk of chronic kidney disease in the future. Management includes treatment of the underlying cause and supportive care, such as renal replacement therapy.Chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a type of kidney disease in which there is gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months or years. Early on there are typically no symptoms. Later, leg swelling, feeling tired, vomiting, loss of appetite, or confusion may develop. Complications may include heart disease, high blood pressure, bone disease, or anemia.Causes of chronic kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, glomerulonephritis, and polycystic kidney disease. Risk factors include a family history of the condition. Diagnosis is generally by blood tests to measure the glomerular filtration rate and urine tests to measure albumin. Further tests such as an ultrasound or kidney biopsy may be done to determine the underlying cause. A number of different classification systems exist.Screening at-risk people is recommended. Initial treatments may include medications to manage blood pressure, blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. NSAIDs should be avoided. Other recommended measures include staying active and certain dietary changes. Severe disease may require hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or a kidney transplant. Treatments for anemia and bone disease may also be required.Chronic kidney disease affected 753 million people globally in 2016, including 417 million females and 336 million males. In 2015 it resulted in 1.2 million deaths, up from 409,000 in 1990. The causes that contribute to the greatest number of deaths are high blood pressure at 550,000, followed by diabetes at 418,000, and glomerulonephritis at 238,000.Dialysis
In medicine, dialysis (from Greek διάλυσις, diàlysis, "dissolution"; from διά, dià, "through", and λύσις, lỳsis, "loosening or splitting") is the process of removing excess water, solutes, and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally. This is referred to as renal replacement therapy.
Dialysis is used in patients with rapidly developing loss of kidney function, called acute kidney injury (previously called acute renal failure), or slowly worsening kidney function, called Stage 5 chronic kidney disease, (previously called chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease and end-stage kidney disease).
Dialysis is used as a temporary measure in either acute kidney injury or in those awaiting kidney transplant and as a permanent measure in those for whom a transplant is not indicated or not possible.In the United Kingdom and the United States, dialysis is paid for by the government for those who are eligible. The first successful dialysis was performed in 1943.
In research laboratories, dialysis technique can also be used to separate molecules based on their size. Additionally, it can be used to balance buffer between a sample and the solution "dialysis bath" or "dialysate" that the sample is in. For dialysis in a laboratory, a tubular semipermeable membrane made of cellulose acetate or nitrocellulose is used. Pore size is varied according to the size separation required with larger pore sizes allowing larger molecules to pass through the membrane. Solvents, ions and buffer can diffuse easily across the semipermeable membrane, but larger molecules are unable to pass through the pores. This can be used to purify proteins of interest from a complex mixture by removing smaller proteins and molecules.Hematite
Hematite, also spelled as haematite, is the mineral form of iron(III) oxide (Fe2O3), one of several iron oxides. It is the oldest known iron oxide mineral that has ever formed on Earth, and is widespread in rocks and soils. Hematite crystallizes in the rhombohedral lattice system, and it has the same crystal structure as ilmenite and corundum. Hematite and ilmenite form a complete solid solution at temperatures above 950 °C (1,740 °F).
Hematite is colored black to steel or silver-gray, brown to reddish brown, or red. It is mined as the main ore of iron. Varieties include kidney ore, martite (pseudomorphs after magnetite), iron rose and specularite (specular hematite). While the forms of hematite vary, they all have a rust-red streak. Hematite is harder than pure iron, but much more brittle. Maghemite is a hematite- and magnetite-related oxide mineral.
Huge deposits of hematite are found in banded iron formations. Gray hematite is typically found in places that can have still standing water or mineral hot springs, such as those in Yellowstone National Park in North America. The mineral can precipitate out of water and collect in layers at the bottom of a lake, spring, or other standing water. Hematite can also occur without water, however, usually as the result of volcanic activity.
Clay-sized hematite crystals can also occur as a secondary mineral formed by weathering processes in soil, and along with other iron oxides or oxyhydroxides such as goethite, is responsible for the red color of many tropical, ancient, or otherwise highly weathered soils.Kidney cancer
Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is a type of cancer that starts in the cells in the kidney.
The two most common types of kidney cancer are renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) (also known as urothelial cell carcinoma) of the renal pelvis. These names reflect the type of cell from which the cancer developed.
The different types of kidney cancer (such as RCC and TCC) develop in different ways, meaning that the diseases have different long term outcomes, and need to be staged and treated in different ways. RCC is responsible for approximately 80% of primary renal cancers, and TCC accounts for the majority of the remainder.Overall five year survival rate in the United States is 73%. For cancers that are confined to the kidney, the five year survival rate is 92%, if it has spread to the surrounding lymph nodes it is 65%, and if it has metastasized, it is 12%.Kidney disease
Kidney disease, or renal disease, also known as nephropathy, is damage to or disease of a kidney. Nephritis is an inflammatory kidney disease and has several types according to the location of the inflammation. Inflammation can be diagnosed by blood tests. Nephrosis is non-inflammatory kidney disease. Nephritis and nephrosis can give rise to nephritic syndrome and nephrotic syndrome respectively. Kidney disease usually causes a loss of kidney function to some degree and can result in kidney failure, the complete loss of kidney function. Kidney failure is known as the end-stage of kidney disease, where dialysis or a kidney transplant is the only treatment option.
Chronic kidney disease causes the gradual loss of kidney function over time. Acute kidney disease is now termed acute kidney injury and is marked by the sudden reduction in kidney function over seven days. About one in eight Americans (as of 2007) suffer from chronic kidney disease.Kidney failure
Kidney failure, also known as end-stage kidney disease, is a medical condition in which the kidneys no longer function. It is divided into acute kidney failure (cases that develop rapidly) and chronic kidney failure (those that are long term). Symptoms may include leg swelling, feeling tired, vomiting, loss of appetite, or confusion. Complications of acute disease may include uremia, high blood potassium, or volume overload. Complications of chronic disease may include heart disease, high blood pressure, or anemia.Causes of acute kidney failure include low blood pressure, blockage of the urinary tract, certain medications, muscle breakdown, and hemolytic uremic syndrome. Causes of chronic kidney failure include diabetes, high blood pressure, nephrotic syndrome, and polycystic kidney disease. Diagnosis of acute disease is often based on a combination of factors such as decrease urine production or increased serum creatinine. Diagnosis of chronic disease is typically based on a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of less than 15 or the need for renal replacement therapy. It is also equivalent to stage 5 chronic kidney disease.Treatment of acute disease typically depends on the underlying cause. Treatment of chronic disease may include hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or a kidney transplant. Hemodialysis uses a machine to filter the blood outside the body. In peritoneal dialysis specific fluid is placed into the abdominal cavity and then drained, with this process being repeated multiple times per day. Kidney transplantation involves surgically placing a kidney from someone else and then taking immunosuppressant medication to prevent rejection. Other recommended measures from chronic disease include staying active and specific dietary changes.In the United States acute disease affects about 3 per 1,000 people a year. Chronic disease affects about 1 in 1,000 people with 3 per 10,000 people newly develop the condition each year. Acute disease is often reversible while chronic disease often is not. With appropriate treatment many with chronic disease can continue working.Kidney stone disease
Kidney stone disease, also known as urolithiasis, is when a solid piece of material (kidney stone) occurs in the urinary tract. Kidney stones typically form in the kidney and leave the body in the urine stream. A small stone may pass without causing symptoms. If a stone grows to more than 5 millimeters (0.2 in) it can cause blockage of the ureter resulting in severe pain in the lower back or abdomen. A stone may also result in blood in the urine, vomiting, or painful urination. About half of people will have another stone within ten years.Most stones form due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Risk factors include high urine calcium levels; obesity; certain foods; some medications; calcium supplements; hyperparathyroidism; gout and not drinking enough fluids. Stones form in the kidney when minerals in urine are at high concentration. The diagnosis is usually based on symptoms, urine testing, and medical imaging. Blood tests may also be useful. Stones are typically classified by their location: nephrolithiasis (in the kidney), ureterolithiasis (in the ureter), cystolithiasis (in the bladder), or by what they are made of (calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite, cystine).In those who have had stones, prevention is by drinking fluids such that more than two liters of urine are produced per day. If this is not effective enough, thiazide diuretic, citrate, or allopurinol may be taken. It is recommended that soft drinks containing phosphoric acid (typically colas) be avoided. When a stone causes no symptoms, no treatment is needed. Otherwise pain control is usually the first measure, using medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or opioids. Larger stones may be helped to pass with the medication tamsulosin or may require procedures such as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, ureteroscopy, or percutaneous nephrolithotomy.Between 1% and 15% of people globally are affected by kidney stones at some point in their lives. In 2015, 22.1 million cases occurred, resulting in about 16,100 deaths. They have become more common in the Western world since the 1970s. Generally, more men are affected than women. Kidney stones have affected humans throughout history with descriptions of surgery to remove them dating from as early as 600 BC.Kidney transplantation
Kidney transplantation or renal transplantation is the organ transplant of a kidney into a patient with end-stage renal disease. Kidney transplantation is typically classified as deceased-donor (formerly known as cadaveric) or living-donor transplantation depending on the source of the donor organ.
Living-donor renal transplants are further characterized as genetically related (living-related) or non-related (living-unrelated) transplants, depending on whether a biological relationship exists between the donor and recipient.
Exchanges and chains are a novel approach to expand the living donor pool. In February 2012, this novel approach to expand the living donor pool resulted in the largest chain in the world, involving 60 participants organized by the National Kidney Registry. In 2014 the record for the largest chain was broken again by a swap involving 70 participants.Nephritis
Nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys and may involve the glomeruli, tubules, or interstitial tissue surrounding the glomeruli and tubules.Nephrology
Nephrology (from Greek nephros "kidney", combined with the suffix -logy, "the study of") is a specialty of medicine and pediatrics that concerns itself with the kidneys: the study of normal kidney function and kidney disease, the preservation of kidney health, and the treatment of kidney disease, from diet and medication to renal replacement therapy (dialysis and kidney transplantation).
Nephrology also studies systemic conditions that affect the kidneys, such as diabetes and autoimmune disease; and systemic diseases that occur as a result of kidney disease, such as renal osteodystrophy and hypertension. A physician who has undertaken additional training and become certified in nephrology is called a nephrologist.
The term "nephrology" was first used in about 1960. Before then, the specialty was usually referred to as "kidney medicine."Nephron
The nephron (fromGreek νεφρός – nephros, meaning "kidney") is the microscopic structural and functional unit of the kidney. It is composed of a renal corpuscle and a renal tubule. The renal corpuscle consists of a tuft of capillaries called a glomerulus and an encompassing Bowman's capsule. The renal tubule extends from the capsule. The capsule and tubule are connected and are composed of epithelial cells with a lumen. A healthy adult has 0.8 to 1.5 million nephrons in each kidney. Blood is filtered as it passes through three layers: the endothelial cells of the capillary wall, its basement membrane, and between the foot processes of the podocytes of the lining of the capsule. The tubule has adjacent peritubular capillaries that run between the descending and ascending portions of the tubule. As the fluid from the capsule flows down into the tubule, it is processed by the epithelial cells lining the tubule: water is reabsorbed and substances are exchanged (some are added, others are removed); first with the interstitial fluid outside the tubules, and then into the plasma in the adjacent peritubular capillaries through the endothelial cells lining that capillary. This process regulates the volume of body fluid as well as levels of many body substances. At the end of the tubule, the remaining fluid—urine—exits: it is composed of water, metabolic waste, and toxins.
The interior of Bowman's capsule, called Bowman's space, collects the filtrate from the filtering capillaries of the glomerular tuft, which also contains mesangial cells supporting these capillaries. These components function as the filtration unit and make up the renal corpuscle. The filtering structure (glomerular filtration barrier) has three layers composed of endothelial cells, a basement membrane, and podocytes (foot processes). The tubule has five anatomically and functionally different parts: the proximal tubule, which has a convoluted section the proximal convoluted tubule followed by a straight section (proximal straight tubule); the loop of Henle, which has two parts, the descending loop of Henle ("descending loop") and the ascending loop of Henle ("ascending loop"); the distal convoluted tubule ("distal loop"); the connecting tubule, and the collecting ducts. Nephrons have two lengths with different urine concentrating capacities: long juxtamedullary nephrons and short cortical nephrons.
The four mechanisms used to create and process the filtrate (the result of which is to convert blood to urine) are filtration, reabsorption, secretion and excretion. Filtration occurs in the glomerulus and is largely passive: it is dependent on the intracapillary blood pressure. About one-fifth of the plasma is filtered as the blood passes through the glomerular capillaries; four-fifths continues into the peritubular capillaries. Normally the only components of the blood that are not filtered into Bowman's capsule are blood proteins, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Over 150 liters of fluid enter the glomeruli of an adult every day: 99% of the water in that filtrate is reabsorbed. Reabsorption occurs in the renal tubules and is either passive, due to diffusion, or active, due to pumping against a concentration gradient. Secretion also occurs in the tubules and is active. Substances reabsorbed include: water, sodium chloride, glucose, amino acids, lactate, magnesium, calcium phosphate, uric acid, and bicarbonate. Substances secreted include urea, creatinine, potassium, hydrogen, and uric acid. Some of the hormones which signal the tubules to alter the reabsorption or secretion rate, and thereby maintain homeostasis, include (along with the substance affected) antidiuretic hormone (water), aldosterone (sodium, potassium), parathyroid hormone (calcium, phosphate), atrial natriuretic peptide (sodium) and brain natriuretic peptide (sodium). A countercurrent system in the renal medulla provides the mechanism for generating a hypertonic interstitium, which allows the recovery of solute-free water from within the nephron and returning it to the venous vasculature when appropriate.
Some diseases of the nephron predominantly affect either the glomeruli or the tubules. Glomerular diseases include diabetic nephropathy, glomerulonephritis and IgA nephropathy; renal tubular diseases include acute tubular necrosis and polycystic kidney disease.Polycystic kidney disease
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD or PCKD, also known as polycystic kidney syndrome) is a genetic disorder in which the renal tubules become structurally abnormal, resulting in the development and growth of multiple cysts within the kidney. These cysts may begin to develop in utero, in infancy, in childhood, or in adulthood. Cysts are non-functioning tubules filled with fluid pumped into them, which range in size from microscopic to enormous, crushing adjacent normal tubules and eventually rendering them non-functional as well.
PKD is caused by abnormal genes which produce a specific abnormal protein; this protein has an adverse effect on tubule development. PKD is a general term for two types, each having their own pathology and genetic cause: autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). The abnormal gene exists in all cells in the body; as a result, cysts may occur in the liver, seminal vesicles, and pancreas. This genetic defect can also cause aortic root aneurysms, and aneurysms in the circle of Willis cerebral arteries, which if they rupture, can cause a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Diagnosis may be suspected from one, some, or all of the following: new onset flank pain or red urine; a positive family history; palpation of enlarged kidneys on physical exam; an incidental finding on abdominal sonogram; or an incidental finding of abnormal kidney function on routine lab work (BUN, serum creatinine, or eGFR). Definitive diagnosis is made by abdominal CT exam.
Complications include hypertension due to the activation of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS), frequent cyst infections, urinary bleeding, and declining renal function. Hypertension is treated with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Infections are treated with antibiotics. Declining renal function is treated with renal replacement therapy (RRT): dialysis and/or transplantation. Management from the time of the suspected or definitive diagnosis is by a board-certified nephrologist.Pyelonephritis
Pyelonephritis is inflammation of the kidney, typically due to a bacterial infection. Symptoms most often include fever and flank tenderness. Other symptoms may include nausea, burning with urination, and frequent urination. Complications may include pus around the kidney, sepsis, or kidney failure.It is typically due to a bacterial infection, most commonly Escherichia coli. Risk factors include sexual intercourse, prior urinary tract infections, diabetes, structural problems of the urinary tract, and spermicide use. The mechanism of infection is usually spread up the urinary tract. Less often infection occurs through the bloodstream. Diagnosis is typically based on symptoms and supported by urinalysis. If there is no improvement with treatment, medical imaging may be recommended.Pyelonephritis may be preventable by urination after sex and drinking sufficient fluids. Once present it is generally treated with antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin or ceftriaxone. Those with severe disease may require treatment in hospital. In those with certain structural problems of the urinary tract or kidney stones, surgery may be required.Pyelonephritis is common. About 1 to 2 per 1,000 women are affected a year and just under 0.5 per 1,000 males. Young adult females are most often affected, followed by the very young and old. With treatment, outcomes are generally good in young adults. Among people over the age of 65 the risk of death is about 40%.Renal function
Renal function, in nephrology, is an indication of the kidney's condition and its role in renal physiology. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) describes the flow rate of filtered fluid through the kidney. Creatinine clearance rate (CCr or CrCl) is the volume of blood plasma that is cleared of creatinine per unit time and is a useful measure for approximating the GFR. Creatinine clearance exceeds GFR due to creatinine secretion, which can be blocked by cimetidine. In alternative fashion, overestimation by older serum creatinine methods resulted in an underestimation of creatinine clearance, which provided a less biased estimate of GFR. Both GFR and CCr may be accurately calculated by comparative measurements of substances in the blood and urine, or estimated by formulas using just a blood test result (eGFR and eCCr).
The results of these tests are used to assess the excretory function of the kidneys. Staging of chronic kidney disease is based on categories of GFR as well as albuminuria and cause of kidney disease.Dosage of drugs that are excreted primarily via urine may need to be modified based on either GFR or creatinine clearance.Rhabdomyolysis
Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly. Symptoms may include muscle pains, weakness, vomiting, and confusion. There may be tea-colored urine or an irregular heartbeat. Some of the muscle breakdown products, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.The muscle damage is most often the result of a crush injury, strenuous exercise, medications, or drug abuse. Other causes include infections, electrical injury, heat stroke, prolonged immobilization, lack of blood flow to a limb, or snake bites. Some people have inherited muscle conditions that increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis. The diagnosis is supported by a urine test strip which is positive for "blood" but the urine contains no red blood cells when examined with a microscope. Blood tests show a creatine kinase greater than 1,000 U/L, with severe disease being above 5,000 U/L.The mainstay of treatment is large quantities of intravenous fluids. Other treatments may include dialysis or hemofiltration in more severe cases. Once urine output is established sodium bicarbonate and mannitol are commonly used but they are poorly supported by the evidence. Outcomes are generally good if treated early. Complications may include high blood potassium, low blood calcium, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and compartment syndrome.Rhabdomyolysis occurs in about 26,000 people a year in the United States. While the condition has been commented on throughout history, the first modern description was following an earthquake in 1908. Important discoveries as to its mechanism were made during the Blitz of London in 1941. It is a significant problem for those injured in earthquakes and relief efforts for such disasters often include medical teams equipped to treat survivors with rhabdomyolysis.Sarah Hyland
Sarah Jane Hyland (born November 24, 1990) is an American actress. Born in Manhattan, Hyland attended the Professional Performing Arts School, followed by small roles in the films Private Parts (1997), Annie (1999), and Blind Date (2007). She is most popularly known for playing the character of Haley Dunphy on the ABC sitcom Modern Family.
Hyland gained her first major role as Haley Dunphy on the ABC sitcom Modern Family, for which she has received critical acclaim and numerous accolades and nominations, sharing four Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series with her cast members and garnering a Critics' Choice Television Award nomination Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Hyland is also known for her roles in the films Geek Charming (2011), Struck by Lightning (2012), Scary Movie 5 (2013), Vampire Academy (2014), See You in Valhalla (2015), XOXO (2016) and Dirty Dancing (2017).Uremia
Uremia is the condition of having high levels of urea in the blood. Urea is one of the primary components of urine. It can be defined as an excess of amino acid and protein metabolism end products, such as urea and creatinine, in the blood that would be normally excreted in the urine. Uremic syndrome can be defined as the terminal clinical manifestation of kidney failure (also called renal failure). It is the signs, symptoms and results from laboratory tests which result from inadequate excretory, regulatory and endocrine function of the kidneys. Both uremia and uremic syndrome have been used interchangeably to denote a very high plasma urea concentration that is the result of renal failure. The former denotation will be used for the rest of the article.
Azotemia is another word that refers to high levels of urea and is used primarily when the abnormality can be measured chemically but is not yet so severe as to produce symptoms. Uremia describes the pathological and symptomatic manifestations of severe azotemia.There is no specific time for the onset of uremia for people with progressive loss of kidney function. People with kidney function below 50% (i.e. a glomerular filtration rate [GFR] between 50 and 60 mL) and over 30 years of age may have uremia to a degree. This means an estimated 8 million people in the United States with a GFR of less than 60 mL have uremic symptoms. The symptoms, such as fatigue, can be very vague, making the diagnosis of impaired renal function difficult. Treatment is to perform dialysis or a renal transplant.Urinary system
The urinary system, also known as the renal system or urinary tract, consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and the urethra. The purpose of the urinary system is to eliminate waste from the body, regulate blood volume and blood pressure, control levels of electrolytes and metabolites, and regulate blood pH. The urinary tract is the body's drainage system for the eventual removal of urine. The kidneys have an extensive blood supply via the renal arteries which leave the kidneys via the renal vein. Each kidney consists of functional units called nephrons. Following filtration of blood and further processing, wastes (in the form of urine) exit the kidney via the ureters, tubes made of smooth muscle fibres that propel urine towards the urinary bladder, where it is stored and subsequently expelled from the body by urination (voiding). The female and male urinary system are very similar, differing only in the length of the urethra.Urine is formed in the kidneys through a filtration of blood. The urine is then passed through the ureters to the bladder, where it is stored. During urination, the urine is passed from the bladder through the urethra to the outside of the body.
800–2,000 milliliters (mL) of urine are normally produced every day in a healthy human. This amount varies according to fluid intake and kidney function.
Anatomy of the urinary system