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Blockage of Renal Vein

Renal vein thrombosis or kidney blood clot

  • Renal Vein Thrombosis refers to the blockage of the renal vein (carries oxygen-depleted blood away from the kidney) by a blood clot (thrombus).

  • May be mild or absent
  • Some patients present with shortness of breath due to a clot in the lung (i.e., pulmonary embolus).
  • If it occurs suddenly:
  1. Back or flank pain (pain in the upper back to the sides)
  2. Hematuria or Blood in the Urine
  3. Low urine volume

  • Blood clots form when normally liquid blood thickens, or its flow slows down and becomes stagnant.
  • Causes of blood clot formation:
  1. Trauma to back or abdomen will damage the vein or scar it, and slow the normal blood flow.
  2. Malignant (invasive/cancer) renal tumors such as Renal Cell Carcinomas can invade the vein and cause blockage to blood flow.
  3. External compression of the vein from pregnancy, tumors of the abdomen, or narrowing or strictures of the major vein known as the inferior vena cava.
  4. Nephrotic Syndrome -- membranous glomerulonephropathy
  • Dehydration in infants

  • History of symptoms, illnesses, past history of thrombosis, allergies, medications, surgeries (especially abdominal or vascular), family history, and habits
  • Medical exam may reveal flank or back pain.
  • Urinalysis under a microscope may reveal red blood cells.
  • Blood tests may reveal high levels of kidney chemical known as LDH enzyme.
  • X-RayUltrasound, MRI or CAT scan are radiographic techniques that can show the size (often enlarged kidney), structure, and clot location in the kidneys.
  • Venography, done by injecting a dye (coloring) into the veins and then X-Raying the area, can show the location of the renal vein narrowing or clotting.

  • See causes
  • Problems with substances that alter blood viscosity (fluidity):
  1. Platelet abnormalities
  2. Increased Fibrinogen levels
  3. Decreased Antithrombin III
  4. Protein C and S deficiency
  5. Anticardiolipin syndrome
  6. Oral contraceptives
  7. Estrogen therapy
  8. Thrombophlebitis migrans

  • Hydration with intravenous fluids may help.
  • Thinning the blood first with heparin (intravenously) and then orally with warfarin pills, which may need to be continued.
  • Surgical removal of the clot (thrombectomy), removal of the infarcted kidney (nephrectomy), or inserting a flexible tube to reopen the blocked vein (recanalization) are other options.

  • Renal failure can occur.
  • Renal infarction -- the segment of kidney dies
  • Pulmonary Emboli can occur.
  • Death is rare.

  • Call 911.

  • Nephrotic Syndrome
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Herniated Disc
  • Pulmonary Emboli
  • Kidney Stones


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