Author(s): Tsai SH, Chu SJ, Chen SJ, Fan YM, Chang WC
The diagnosis of acute renal infarction (ARI) is often delayed or unrecognised because of its non-specific presentation and the rarity of the disease. We evaluated the clinical presentations, laboratory findings, underlying medical conditions and treatment of 18 Chinese patients with ARI who presented to the emergency department (ED) of a tertiary teaching hospital from 1995 to 2004. We identified 14 non-trauma and four trauma patients with ARI. The mean duration from the onset of symptoms to the diagnosis of ARI was 1.9 days. The prevalence of concurrent events was 39%. About 64.5% of non-trauma patients had histories of atrial fibrillation, structural heart diseases or previous embolic events. The laboratory characteristics were neither specific nor sensitive for the diagnosis of ARI. Conservative treatment, local intra-arterial thrombolytic and i.v. thrombolytic therapies were provided in nine, five and two patients respectively. Decreased effective renal plasma flow in affected kidneys was found in three of three patients. Serum creatinine (Cr) was normal or elevated not more than 25% of baseline in 16 cases. ARI may resemble many non-renal diseases; however, repeated evaluation and a high index of suspicion are required for early diagnosis. Concurrent injuries or thromboembolism in other foci should be noticed. Early contrast-enhanced computerized tomography scan should be considered for high-risk patients. Patients with ARI should be followed by functional studies rather than serum Cr level.