Acute Renal Infarction as a Cause of Low-Back Pain

Fernando de la Iglesia, MD, PHD; Pablo Asensio, MD, Alejandro Díaz, MD; Mercedes Darriba, MD; Ricardo Nicolás, MD, PHD; Fernando Diz-Lois, MD


South Med J. 2003;96(5) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Detection of acute renal infarction is often delayed or missed because of both the rarity of the disease and its nonspecific clinical presentation. Abrupt onset of low-back pain in a patient at high risk for a thromboembolic event may be the first indication of renal infarction. We report a case of acute renal infarction and review its diagnosis and management.


Low-back pain is a prevalent problem and can account for up to 15% of all new outpatient visits.[1] Low-back pain is usually a benign condition related to posture or physical strain, and it generally resolves spontaneously or is easily treated. Therefore, low-back pain often is not regarded as a symptom of serious disease. We encountered a case of acute renal infarction in a patient who had sudden onset of low-back pain. Patients with acute renal infarction usually present with persistent low-back, abdominal, and flank pain that suggests other, more common diseases such as lumbago, abdominal disease, urolithiasis, or even myocardial infarction.[2] In addition, neither risk factors nor laboratory examinations that have a clinically acceptable specificity for acute renal infarction exist. Early diagnosis is mandatory to establish effective acute and long-term therapy for the preservation of renal function.


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