Acute tubular necrosis (ATN) is a kidney disorder involving damage to the tubule cells of the kidneys, which can lead to acute kidney failure. The tubules are tiny ducts in the kidneys that help filter the blood when it passes through the kidneys.
Necrosis - renal tubular; ATN; Necrosis - acute tubular
ATN is often caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the kidney tissues (ischemia of the kidneys). It may also occur if the kidney cells are damaged by a poison or harmful substance.
The internal structures of the kidney, particularly the tissues of the kidney tubule, become damaged or destroyed. ATN is one of the most common structural changes that can lead to acute kidney failure.
ATN is a common cause of kidney failure in people who are in the hospital. Risks for ATN include:
Liver disease and kidney damage caused by diabetes (diabetic nephropathy) may make a person more prone to develop ATN.
ATN can also be caused by medicines that are toxic to the kidneys. These medicines include aminoglycoside antibiotics and the antifungal drug amphotericin.
Symptoms may include any of the following:
In most people, ATN is reversible. The goal of treatment is to prevent life-threatening complications of acute kidney failure
Treatment focuses on preventing the buildup of fluids and wastes, while allowing the kidneys to heal.
Treatment may include any of the following:
Temporary dialysis can remove excess waste and fluids. This can help improve your symptoms so that you feel better. It may also make kidney failure easier to control. Dialysis may not be necessary for all people, but is often lifesaving, especially if potassium is dangerously high.
Dialysis may be needed in the following cases:
Brad Rovin is a Nephrologist in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Rovin has been practicing medicine for over 39 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Acute Tubular Necrosis. He is also highly rated in 22 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Lupus Nephritis, Glomerulonephritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and Acute Tubular Necrosis. He is board certified in Nephrology and licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Rovin is currently accepting new patients.
Mark Perazella is a Nephrologist in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Perazella has been practicing medicine for over 34 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Acute Tubular Necrosis. He is also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Interstitial Nephritis, Acute Tubular Necrosis, Acute Kidney Failure, and Chronic Kidney Disease. He is licensed to treat patients in Connecticut. Dr. Perazella is currently accepting new patients.
Sang-kyung Jo is in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Jo is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Acute Tubular Necrosis. They are also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Acute Tubular Necrosis, Acute Kidney Failure, Chronic Kidney Disease, and Necrosis.
ATN can last for a few days to 6 weeks or more. This may be followed by 1 or 2 days of making an unusually large amount of urine as the kidneys recover. Kidney function often returns to normal, but there may be other serious problems and complications.
Call your provider if your urine output decreases or stops, or if you develop other symptoms of ATN.
Promptly treating conditions that can lead to decreased blood flow as well as decreased oxygen to the kidneys can reduce the risk for ATN.
Blood transfusions are crossmatched to reduce the risk of incompatibility reactions.
Diabetes, liver disorders, and heart problems need to be managed well to reduce the risk for ATN.
If you know you're taking medicine that can injure your kidneys, ask your provider about having your blood level of the medicine checked regularly.
Drink a lot of fluids after having any contrast dyes to allow them to be removed from the body and reduce the risk for kidney damage.
Turner JM, Coca SG. Acute tubular injury and acute tubular necrosis. In: Gilbert SJ, Weiner DE, eds. National Kidney Foundation's Primer on Kidney Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 32.
Weisbord SD, Palevsky PM. Prevention and management of acute kidney injury. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.