Kidney infection - Complications of kidney infection
NHS Choices Medical Reference
In particularly severe cases of kidney infections, pockets of pus can build up within the tissue of the kidney. These pockets are known as abscesses.
Symptoms of kidney abscesses include:
- weight loss,
- blood in your urine, and
- abdominal pain.
Surgery may be required in order to drain the pus out of your kidney.
Sepsis is the medical name for blood poisoning. It is a rare but potentially fatal complication of kidney infections. Sepsis occurs when the bacteria spreads from your kidneys to your bloodstream. Once bacteria are present in your blood, infection can then spread to any part of your body, including all the major organs.
Symptoms of sepsis include:
- low blood pressure, which makes you feel dizzy when you stand up,
- a change in mental behaviour, such as confusion or disorientation,
- reduced urine flow,
- cold and clammy skin,
- pale skin, and
- loss of consciousness.
Sepsis is a medical emergency, and it usually requires admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) so that the functions of the body can be supported while antibiotics are used to fight the infection.
Emphysematous pyelonephritis (EPN) is another rare but potentially fatal complication of a kidney infection.
EPN is a severe type of infection, where the kidney tissues are rapidly destroyed and the bacteria that are responsible for the infection begin to release toxic gas that builds up inside the kidneys.
Symptoms of EPN include:
- a high temperature (fever) of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above,
- abdominal pain,
- vomiting, and
- mental confusion.
The exact cause of EPN is unclear, but having poorly-controlled diabetes seems to be a major risk factor for the development of the condition.
Left untreated, EPN is fatal because the bacteria and toxic gas cause multiple organ failure. EPN requires emergency surgical treatment, and it is usually necessary to remove some or all of the affected kidney.
Kidney: Kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located at the back of the abdomen, which remove waste and extra fluid from the blood, and pass them out of the body as urine.
Dose: Dose is a measured quantity of a medicine to be taken at any one time, such as a specified amount of medication.
Abscess: An abscess is a lump containing pus, which is made by the body during infection.
Blood: Blood supplies oxygen to the body and removes carbon dioxide. It is pumped around the body by the heart.
Antibiotic: Antibiotics are medicines that can be used to treat infections caused by micro-organisms, usually bacteria or fungi. For example amoxicillin, streptomycin and erythromycin.
Bacteria: Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease, and some are good for you.