Azotemia

Get the details on azotemia.

Azotemia

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.

Causes

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

Symptoms of prerenal azotemia may include:

Confusion
Decreased urine output (possibly even absent)
Decreased level of alertness
Dry mouth
Fatigue
Orthostatic hypotension
Pale skin
Rapid pulse (tachycardia)
Swelling
Thirst

Read additional details on possible symptoms.


Treatment

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.