How is acute kidney injury (AKI) classified?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Biruh T Workeneh, MD, PhD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

AKI may be classified into 3 general categories, as follows:

  • Prerenal - As an adaptive response to severe volume depletion and hypotension, with structurally intact nephrons
  • Intrinsic - In response to cytotoxic, ischemic, or inflammatory insults to the kidney, with structural and functional damage
  • Postrenal - From obstruction to the passage of urine

While this classification is useful in establishing a differential diagnosis, many pathophysiologic features are shared among the different categories. (See Etiology.)


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