Is the enlargement and dilation of the renal pelvis calyces, usually caused by obstruction of the free flow of urine from the kidney, leading to progressive atrophy of the kidney.
Hydronephrosis is the result of several abnormal pathophysiological occurrences. It is not itself a disease, but rather a physical result of whatever disease is keeping urine from draining out of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Structural abnormalities of the junctions between the kidney, ureter, and bladder that lead to hydronephrosis can occur during fetal development. Some of these congenital defects have been identified as inherited conditions, however the benefits of linking genetic testing to early diagnosis have not been determined. Other structural abnormalities could be caused by injury, surgery, or radiation therapy.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of hydronephrosis depend upon whether the obstruction is acute or chronic, partial or complete, unilateral or bilateral. Hydronephrosis that occurs acutely with sudden onset (as caused by a kidney stone) can cause intense pain in the flank area (between the hips and ribs), while a chronic occurrence that develops gradually will present with no pain or attacks of a dull discomfort. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. An obstruction that occurs at the urethra or bladder outlet can cause pain and pressure resulting from distension of the bladder. Blocking the flow of urine will commonly result in urinary tract infections which can lead to the development of additional stones, fever, and blood or pus in the urine. If complete obstruction occurs, kidney failure may follow.
Treatment of hydronephrosis focuses upon the removal of the obstruction by placing a foley catheter and drainage of the urine that has accumulated behind the obstruction.Nephrostomy tubes placed through the skin (percutaneous) or stents placed in the ureters to allow urine to flow from the kidney to the bladder.
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