Learn About Acute Tubular Necrosis

What is the definition of Acute Tubular Necrosis?

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.

Save information for later
Sign Up
What are the alternative names for Acute Tubular Necrosis?

Necrosis - renal tubular; ATN; Necrosis - acute tubular

What are the causes of Acute Tubular Necrosis?

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:

  • Blood transfusion reaction
  • Injury or trauma that damages the muscles
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension) that lasts longer than 30 minutes
  • Recent major surgery
  • Septic shock (serious condition that occurs when a body-wide infection leads to dangerously low blood pressure)

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.

What are the symptoms of Acute Tubular Necrosis?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Decreased consciousness, coma, delirium or confusion, drowsiness, and lethargy
  • Decreased urine output or no urine output
  • General swelling, fluid retention
  • Nausea, vomiting
Not sure about your diagnosis?
Check Your Symptoms
What are the current treatments for Acute Tubular Necrosis?

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:

  • Identifying and treating the underlying cause of the problem
  • Restricting fluid intake
  • Taking medicines to help control potassium level in the blood
  • Medicines taken by mouth or through an IV to help remove fluid from the body

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:

  • Decreased mental status
  • Fluid overload
  • Increased potassium level
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the sac-like covering around the heart)
  • Removal of toxins that are dangerous to the kidneys
  • Total lack of urine production
  • Uncontrolled buildup of nitrogen waste products
Who are the top Acute Tubular Necrosis Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Outpatient Care East

Columbus, OH 

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.

Highly rated in

Yale New Haven Office

New Haven, CT 

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.

Learn about our expert tiers
Learn more
Highly rated in

Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College Of Medicine

Seoul, KR 

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.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Acute Tubular 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.

When should I contact a medical professional for Acute Tubular Necrosis?

Call your provider if your urine output decreases or stops, or if you develop other symptoms of ATN.

How do I prevent Acute Tubular Necrosis?

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.

Kidney anatomy
Kidney - blood and urine flow
What are the latest Acute Tubular Necrosis Clinical Trials?
Study of the Evolution Profile of the Renal Doppler in the Perioperative Hepathic Transplantation - Interest in Predicting the Occurence of Acute Postoperative Renal Faillure
Match to trials
Find the right clinical trials for you in under a minute
Get started
Renal Biopsy Findings In Patients With Unexplained Elevated Serum Creatinine In Assiut University Hospital
What are the Latest Advances for Acute Tubular Necrosis?
Kidney biopsy in very elderly patients: indications, therapeutic impact and complications.
Cytomegalovirus-Associated Nephrotic Syndrome in a Patient with Myasthenia Gravis Treated with Azathioprine: A Case Report.
Tired of the same old research?
Check Latest Advances
Abdominal and gastrointestinal manifestations in COVID-19 patients: Is imaging useful?
What are our references for Acute Tubular Necrosis?

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.