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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
    • Blood clot in the renal vein; Occlusion - renal vein

  • Causes
    • Renal vein thrombosis is an uncommon disorder. It may be caused by:

      In adults, the most common cause is nephrotic syndrome. In infants, the most common cause is dehydration.

  • Symptoms
  • Exams and Tests
  • 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 medicines that prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants). You may be told to rest in bed or cut down on activity for a short time.

      If sudden kidney failure develops, you may need dialysis for a short period.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Renal vein thrombosis most often gets better over time without lasting damage to the kidneys.

  • Possible Complications
    • Complications may include:

      • Acute renal failure (especially if thrombosis occurs in a dehydrated child)
      • End stage renal disease
      • Blood clot moves to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
      • Formation of new blood clots
  • 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 provider if you have:

  • Prevention
    • In most cases, there is no specific way to prevent renal vein thrombosis. Keeping enough fluids in the body may help reduce risk.

      Aspirin is sometimes used to prevent renal vein thrombosis in people who have had a kidney transplant. Blood thinners such as warfarin may be recommended for some people with chronic kidney disease.

  • References
    • DuBose TD Jr, Santos RM. Vascular disorders of the kidney In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 125.

      Ruggenenti P, Cravede P, Remuzzi G. Microvascular and macrovascular diseases of the kidney. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, et al, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 34.