Kidney failure is a major, and often fatal, complication for burn victims, particularly those with thermal and electrical burns.
The following are possible underlying causes1:
Hypovolemia. Burns affecting more than 20% of the total body surface often cause hypovolemia (decrease in blood volume) and extravascular fluid loss (loss of fluid found outside of the blood vessels).
Low blood and renal flow can be caused by chemical reactions to the shock the body experiences from severe burns. Myocardial depressant factor, tumour necrosis factor and/or oxygen free radicals can put stress on the renal system and cause organ failure and tubular necrosis (tissue death). In addition, the shock can cause elevated levels of certain hormones, including catecholamines, angiotensin II, aldosterone, and vasopressin.
Sepsis. The greatest risk for these patients is infection. When your immune system overreacts to the infection, it can trigger widespread inflammation (sepsis) and blood clotting in tiny vessels throughout the body. This inflammation and clotting can cause multi-organ dysfunction.
Antibiotics administered to prevent infection can cause kidney damage.
Respiratory problems can lead to lower oxygen levels in the blood, which then can lead to lower renal output (urine).
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1. Emara, S.S., and A.A. Alzaylai. “Renal Failure in Burn Patients: A Review.” Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters 26.1 (2013): 12–15. Print.