Azotemia is a condition where the patient's blood contains uncommon levels of urea, creatinine, and other compounds rich in nitrogen. Azotemia is also one clinical characteristic of a wider condition known as uremia, which includes other conditions such as acidosis, anemia, hyperkalemia, hypertension, hypocalcemia, etc.
The underlying cause of azotemia is typically that the kidneys' blood filtering is not sufficient. Direct causes may include: certain antiviral medications, congestive heart failure, extended diarrhea or vomiting, kidney trauma, liver failure, severe burns, or shock.
Azotemia may be labeled based upon its cause:
Prerenal azotemia: The kidneys do not receive proper blood supply.
Postrenal azotemia: There is a blockage in the urinary outflow tract.
Some forms of azotemia are actually caused directly by diseases within the kidneys.
Symptoms of prerenal azotemia may include:
Decreased urine output (possibly even absent)
Decreased level of alertness
Rapid pulse (tachycardia)
Read additional details on possible symptoms.
Speedy treatment of some azotemias may offer restoration of kidney function, while a delay in treatment may lead to permanent loss of function. Some treatment options include hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, medications, and treatment for the underlying condition.