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Alternative Names Return to topNecrosis - renal papillae; Renal medullary necrosis
Definition Return to top
Renal papillary necrosis is a disorder of the kidneys in which all or part renal papillae die. The renal papillae is the area where the openings of the collecting ducts enter the kidney.
Causes Return to top
Renal papillary necrosis is most commonly associated with analgesic nephropathy. However, a number of conditions can cause this condition, including:
Sickle cell anemia is a common cause of renal papillary necrosis in children.
Symptoms Return to top
Necrosis (tissue death) of the renal papillae may make the kidney unable to concentrate the urine. Symptoms may include:
Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:
Exams and Tests Return to top
An examination may reveal tenderness when touching the body over the affected kidney. There may be a history of chronic or recurrent urinary tract infections. There may be signs of obstructive uropathy or renal failure.
A urinalysis may show dead tissue in the urine.
An IVP may show obstruction or tissue in the renal pelvis or ureter.
Treatment Return to top
There is no specific treatment for renal papillary necrosis. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. For example, if analgesic nephropathy is suspected as the cause, your doctor will recommend that you stop using the suspected medications. This may allow healing over time.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
How well a person does depends on the underlying condition. If the underlying disorder can be controlled, the condition may go away on its own. In some cases, persons with this condition develop kidney failure.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have bloody urine. Also call if other symptoms of renal papillary necrosis develop, especially after taking over-the-counter pain medications.
Prevention Return to top
Control of diabetes or sickle cell anemia may reduce risk. Prevention of renal papillary necrosis from analgesic nephropathy includes careful moderation in the use of medications, including over-the-counter analgesics.Update Date: 8/14/2007 Updated by: Charles Silberberg, DO, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology, affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.