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Kidney Injuries


What is a kidney injury?

It is normal to have 2 kidneys. The kidneys are located on either side of the spine, just above the waist. Kidneys filter the blood and get rid of waste products and excess water as urine. Urine passes through small tubes (ureters) that connect the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder stores the urine. Urine then goes out of the body through a tube called the urethra.

Injuries to the kidney may include bruising, being cut, or being torn.

How does it occur?

Kidney injuries in children are usually minor.

Most kidney injuries are caused by car accidents. Another common cause is bicycle accidents. Any hard blow to the upper abdomen or back can injure the kidney. This may be from a fall, punch, or sports. Guns or knives can cause penetrating injuries.

What are the symptoms?

Children with kidney injuries may have bruising or pain in the back. There may be blood in the urine. If you think your child has a kidney injury, call your child's healthcare provider. The provider will examine your child, and may do blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, a CAT scan, or an ultrasound.

How is it treated?

Most kidney injuries do not need surgery. Your child may need bed rest for a day or two. Your child may be tired and irritable. If your child has pain, give acetaminophen (Tylenol). Check with your healthcare provider before you give any medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates to a child or teen. This includes medicines like baby aspirin, some cold medicines, and Pepto Bismol. Children and teens who take aspirin are at risk for a serious illness called Reye's syndrome. Do not give your child ibuprofen (Advil) unless your healthcare provider says that it is OK. Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids.

If the child's kidney is badly damaged, surgery may be needed. After surgery, your child does not need to stay in bed. He should play quietly with family, friends, or pets. He should not participate in any contact sports or activities that involve jumping, jostling, or running such as bike riding, football, soccer, or track until your provider says it is ok. Your child should not carry or lift anything heavier than 2 school books at a time, even in a backpack.

Ask your healthcare provider when your child can go back to normal activities.

When should I call my child's healthcare provider?

Call your healthcare provider right away if your child has:

  • blood in the urine
  • a fever over 100.4°F (38.0°C)
  • pain and tenderness.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2010-06-03
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.

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