Obstructive uropathy is a condition in which the flow of urine is blocked. Urine backs up and can cause injury to one or both kidneys.
Uropathy - obstructive
Obstructive uropathy occurs when urine cannot drain through a ureter. The ureter is 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 out of the body into a drainage bag, may be used to bypass the blockage.
A Foley catheter placed through the urethra into the bladder may also be helpful.
Short-term relief can be achieved without surgery. However, the cause of the blockage must be removed and the urinary system repaired. Long-term relief may require surgery.
Kidney damage is less likely if the problem is diagnosed and treated promptly. Often, the damage to the kidneys goes away.
Long-term damage to the kidneys may occur if you have had obstructive uropathy for a long time.
If only one kidney is damaged, chronic kidney problems are less likely.
When both kidneys become damaged and fail to function, even after the obstruction is repaired, you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Obstructive uropathy can cause lasting damage to the kidneys and result in renal failure. If the problem was caused by blockage to the bladder outlet, there can be permanent bladder damage. This can result in problems such as incontinence and urinary retention.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms of obstructive uropathy.
Obstructive uropathy can be prevented by addressing any underlying 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.