Obstructive uropathy is a condition in which the flow of urine is blocked. This causes the urine to back up back up and injure one or both kidneys.
Uropathy - obstructive
Obstructive uropathy occurs when urine cannot drain through a ureter (a tube that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder). Urine backs up into the kidney and causes it to become swollen (hydronephrosis).
Obstructive uropathy can affect one or both kidneys. It can occur suddenly, or be a long-term problem.
Stents or drains placed in the ureter or in a part of the kidney called the renal pelvis may provide short-term relief of symptoms.
Nephrostomy tubes, which drain urine from the kidneys through the back, may be used to bypass the blockage.
A Foley catheter, placed through the urethra into the bladder, may also be help urine flow.
Short-term relief from the blockage is possible without surgery. However, the cause of the blockage must be removed and the urinary system repaired. Surgery may be needed for long-term relief from the problem.
If the blockage comes on suddenly, kidney damage is less likely if the problem is detected and repaired promptly. Often, the damage to the kidneys goes away.Long-term damage to the kidneys may occur if the blockage has been present for a long time.
If only one kidney is damaged, chronic kidney problems are less likely.
You may need dialysis or a kidney transplant if there is damage to both kidneys and they do not function, even after the obstruction is repaired.
Obstructive uropathy can cause permanent and severe damage to the kidneys, resulting in kidney failure.
If the problem was caused by a blockage in the bladder, the bladder may have long-term damage. This may lead to problems emptying the bladder or leakage of urine.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of obstructive uropathy or suspect you may have this condition.
Obstructive uropathy can be prevented by treating disorders that can cause it.
Sovrin M. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.