Signs and Symptoms of Postrenal ARF

Pain varies in severity and location according to the type of obstruction and often suggests the cause of postrenal ARF. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of obstruction-related postrenal ARF follow:

  • Difficult urination
  • Distended bladder
  • Edema (fluid retention and swelling)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Pain in the lower back, lower abdomen, groin, genitalia
  • Severe hematuria (blood in urine)

Postrenal ARF Diagnosis

Postrenal ARF is diagnosed after a complete physical examination and medical history. Often, the catheterization of a bladder holding a large amount of urine (2–3 liters) helps make the diagnosis. The physician passes a tube (catheter) through the urethra into the bladder to drain urine into a bag outside the body. The volume of urine is measured and bladder swelling is resolved.

Ultrasound of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder is the test of choice to detect obstruction. If the kidneys show signs of hydronephrosis—that is, if they are stretched, or dilated, beyond normal dimensions because of fluid buildup—the patient usually has obstructive ARF.

On rare occasions, computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) of the kidneys can provide additional information.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 30 Apr 2001

Last Modified: 27 Aug 2015