What are the possible complications of acute pyelonephritis (kidney infection) during pregnancy?

Updated: Jul 01, 2021
  • Author: Tibor Fulop, MD, PhD, FACP, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Kidney scarring has been demonstrated to be 4 times more likely after pyelonephritis in pregnant women than in nonpregnant women. In addition, acute pyelonephritis during pregnancy is associated with the following complications:

  • Acute kidney dysfunction (elevated creatinine) in 2% of cases (20-25% in the past)
  • Acute kidney injury in 0.03% of cases
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (bilateral chest radiograph infiltrates and hypoxemia without pulmonary hypertension) in 1-8% of cases
  • Low birth weight (< 2500 g) in 7% of cases
  • Preterm delivery (< 37 wk gestation) in 5% of cases (6-50% in the past)
  • Recurrence prior to delivery in 18-20% of cases
  • Sepsis (positive blood cultures) in 17% of cases

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