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Renal vein thrombosis

Definition

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

Alternative Names

Clot in the renal vein; Occlusion - renal vein

Causes

Renal vein thrombosis is a fairly uncommon situation that may happen after trauma to the abdomen or back, or it may occur due to:

  • Scar formation
  • Stricture
  • Tumor

It may be associated with nephrotic syndrome.

In some children, it occurs after severe dehydration and is a more serious condition than in adults. Dehydration is the most common cause of renal vein thrombosis in infants.

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

An examination may not reveal the specific problem, but may indicate nephrotic syndrome or other causes of renal vein thrombosis.

Treatment

The treatment is focused on preventing new clot formations and reducing the risk of the clot traveling to other locations in the body (embolization).

You may get medications that prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) to stop new clots from forming. Your doctor may recommend bedrest or limited activity for a brief period.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Renal vein thrombosis usually gets better over time without permanently injuring the kidneys.

Possible Complications

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 health care provider if you develop decreased urine output, difficulty breathing, or other new symptoms.

Prevention

There is no specific prevention for renal vein thrombosis. Maintaining fluids in the body to avoid dehydration may help to reduce its risk.

References

Kanso AA, Hassan NMA, Badr KF. Microvascular and macrovascular diseases of the kidney. In: Brenner BM, ed. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa; Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 32.


Review Date: 5/20/2009
Reviewed By: Parul Patel, MD, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology and Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, Affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center, Department of Transplantation, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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