Uremia

Overview

Uremia (uremic syndrome) is a serious complication of chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury (which used to be known as acute renal failure). It occurs when urea and other waste products build up in the body because the kidneys are unable to eliminate them. These substances can become poisonous (toxic) to the body if they reach high levels.

Uremic syndrome may affect any part of the body and can cause:

  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
  • Changes in mental status, such as confusion, reduced awareness, agitation, psychosis, seizures, and coma.
  • Abnormal bleeding, such as bleeding spontaneously or profusely from a very minor injury.
  • Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat, inflammation in the sac that surrounds the heart (pericarditis), and increased pressure on the heart.

Kidney dialysis is usually needed to relieve the symptoms of uremic syndrome until normal kidney function can be restored.

Credits

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Tushar J. Vachharajani MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology