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Definition of Acute tubular necrosis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Acute tubular necrosis: A severe form of acute renal failure that develops in people with severe illnesses (such as sepsis) or with very low blood pressure. Patients may need dialysis. Kidney function often improves if the underlying disease is successfully treated. Abbreviated ATN. Many times the term is used synonymously with the term acute renal failure (ARF). Generally, ATN would refer to acute renal failure of the renal category where there has been damage to the filtering unit of the kidney itself (glomerulus and its associated tubular network).

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