Acute kidney injury (or aki, also known as "acute renal failure
") is very common in hospitalized patients, and particularly patients in intensive care (although you do not say your sister is actually in intensive care)
there are degrees of kidney failure ranging from mild and quickly reversible, to permanent and complete. The kidneys are very sensitive to what is going on around them -- they're sort of the "canary in a coal mine" of our organ systems. So they tend to protest severe illness early by not making enough urine
and allowing toxic byproducts to build up in the bloodstream.
Fortunately, usually hospital acquired acute kidney failure
goes away with minimal intervention. When it doesn't, the function of the kidneys can often (depending on the other medical circumstances) be replaced with a machine which removes the things the kidneys usually remove from the blood(dialysis
). Dialysis isn't a perfect replacement for functioning kidneys by any means, but it's good enough for the short term, and many people live for decades on dialysis. Not every patient can benefit from dialysis -- the choice of whether to initiate dialysis is made on an individual basis.
is usually only made available to patients who have complete and permanent kidney failure, are dialysis dependent, and are doing very well otherwise.
I hope you have found this helpful, and that your sister feels better soon.