Anuria is a condition in which an individual experiences a decline in the ability to urinate and generally produces under 50 milliliters of urine daily. This condition is often indicative of end stage kidney disease or kidney failure. It also occurs as a result of blockage in the kidneys caused by a tumor or kidney stones. Untreated anuria may result in uremia, which is when wastes build up in the blood.
Dangers of Uremia
Uremia carries a risk of complications such as seizures, coma, and death. In acute anuria, urine production drops rapidly, indicating sudden kidney failure. Failure of the kidneys can be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and kidney stones. Acute failure of the kidneys can also indicate underlying health problems like infections and heart failure.
Anuria is a symptom rather than an illness and typically presents with other symptoms, pointing to the cause. When anuria is caused by kidney failure, other symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness and a loss of appetite. Anuria’s diagnosis may even be the key to the proper treatment of condition which caused it.
Anuria is diagnosed by measuring urine excretion. After it has been diagnosed, a complete medical history should be taken and a physical exam performed to determine the cause. The treatment method used will depend upon anuria’s cause. Fixing the underlying disorder should resolve the anuria.
In cases where anuria is caused by an obstruction, the remedy usually involves inserting a catheter into the urinary tract. Drugs are another treatment option. Mannitol, a sugar alcohol often found in diabetic candies, is used in this case to pull larger amounts of water out of the bloodstream. This supplies better blood flow to the kidneys. Unfortunately, this substance isn’t recommended for the treatment of kidney failure. Other common substances used to treat anuria include dobutamine and dextrose (corn sugar), both of which dramatically improve blood flow to the kidneys for one half to one hour. In the most serious cases, dialysis may be recommended.
Due to the high risk of developing uremia as well as the complications associated with more serious diseases, diagnosing anuria correctly the first time can prove essential to timely treatment. Anuria is not the same as oliguria, a condition indicated by less than 300 to 500 milliliters of urine output each day. Much like anuria, oliguria could also indicate underlying kidney failure. However, oligura could also simply be a symptom of dehydration. Should a physician mistake the two, it is possible to aggravate both conditions with the wrong treatments.
Substances like mannitol and dextrose should never be used when dehydration is present. Their use may also cover up the underlying conditions causing anuria like cancer and kidney stones. If this happens, the underlying conditions may not receive treatment.
If a misdiagnosis of anuria is suspected or overlooked entirely and resulted in a worsening of the underlying illness, there may be legitimate grounds for a medical malpractice suit. Victims may be entitled to financial compensation to cover lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Those looking for more information regarding anuria misdiagnosis are encouraged to contact an experienced malpractice lawyer.