What are the abdominal findings characteristic of acute kidney injury (AKI)?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Biruh T Workeneh, MD, PhD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Abdominal examination may reveal the following:

  • Pulsatile mass or bruit - Atheroemboli
  • Abdominal or costovertebral angle tenderness - Nephrolithiasis, papillary necrosis, renal artery thrombosis, renal vein thrombosis
  • Pelvic, rectal masses; prostatic hypertrophy; distended bladder – Urinary obstruction
  • Limb ischemia, edema - Rhabdomyolysis

Abdominal examination findings can be useful in helping to detect obstruction at the bladder outlet as the cause of renal failure; such obstruction may be due to cancer or to an enlarged prostate.

The presence of tense ascites can indicate elevated intra-abdominal pressure that can retard renal venous return and result in AKI. The presence of an epigastric bruit suggests renal vascular hypertension, which may predispose to AKI.

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