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Kidney Problems - Diagnosis

Overview | Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment | FAQ

Kidney Infection

The doctor can determine if you have a kidney infection by examining your urine for bacteria and pus cells.

Kidney Stones

A urologist can examine your urine under a microscope to check for blood, crystals, and infection. X-rays can help locate a stone and determine its size. X-rays without dye (contrast) can determine if the stone is blocking a kidney. An ultrasound exam can sometimes determine size and location of a stone. At other times, more complex tests may need to be done.

Kidney Failure

The diagnosis of kidney failure is made by looking at certain lab results. The most commonly used are serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN).

Acute kidney failure - This is sometimes a reversible condition.

Chronic kidney failure - In chronic kidney failure, kidney function is lost over a period of months or years. You may not notice the damage until it has been done. Damage from chronic kidney failure in most cases is not reversible.

End-stage kidney failure or renal disease - This means that the damage to the kidneys is severe enough that the kidneys are not working adequately. This is a permanent failure of the kidneys.

Kidney Cancer

Kidney masses are often detected by abdominal ultrasound or CT scan as an incidental finding while evaluating another condition or performing screening. The primary modality of diagnosis is currently abdominal ultrasound. Once a solid mass of the kidney has been identified, a CT scan is the most common study to elucidate the size and extent of the tumor.

The staging evaluation includes a chest X-ray, liver function tests, and in selected patients, a bone scan.