What are the complications of restored renal blood flow in the pathophysiology of acute kidney injury (AKI)?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Biruh T Workeneh, MD, PhD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Recovery from AKI is first dependent upon restoration of RBF. Early RBF normalization predicts better prognosis for recovery of renal function. In prerenal failure, restoration of circulating blood volume is usually sufficient. Rapid relief of urinary obstruction in postrenal failure results in a prompt decrease of vasoconstriction. With intrinsic renal failure, removal of tubular toxins and initiation of therapy for glomerular diseases decreases renal afferent vasoconstriction.

Once RBF is restored, the remaining functional nephrons increase their filtration and eventually undergo hypertrophy. GFR recovery depends on the size of this remnant nephron pool. If the number of remaining nephrons is below a critical threshold, continued hyperfiltration results in progressive glomerular sclerosis, eventually leading to increased nephron loss.

A vicious cycle ensues; continued nephron loss causes more hyperfiltration until complete renal failure results. This has been termed the hyperfiltration theory of renal failure and explains the scenario in which progressive renal failure is frequently observed after apparent recovery from AKI.

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