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Renal Vein Thrombosis

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Renal vein thrombosis is characterized by presence of clot inside the renal veins (they drain blood from the kidneys).  This disorder is also known as renal vein occlusion and can occur in children as well as adults.

Symptoms of Renal Vein Thrombosis

The symptoms vary to a large extent depending on the severity of the thrombosis and the age of the individual.

In children

  • High fever and chills
  • Increased thirst, dryness in mouth
  • Breathing problem
  • Concentrated urine
  • Decreased urine output
  • Irritation, nausea, vomiting, weakness
  • Low appetite

In adults

  • Blood urine
  • Low back pain
  • Leg edema
  • Pain in loin
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severely decreased urination


Under chronic case of renal vein thrombosis, acute illness and serious decline in renal function will be marked by

  • Proteinuria
  • hematuria
  • renal enlargement /renal atrophy
  • pulmonary embolism
  • pulmonary embolism (when the blood clot moves in the pulmonary artery)
  • peripheral edema
  • Kidney failure

Causes of renal vein thrombosis

In children, the primary cause of renal vein thrombosis is – dehydration, diarrhoea and polycythaemia

In adults it can happen due to the following reasons:

  • nephrotic syndrome
  • renal cancer
  • antiphospholipid syndrome
  • renal transplantation
  • estrogen overdose
  • aortic aneurysm
  • trauma of back
  • Pregnancy
  • Tumors in the kidney
  • Prolonged use of oral contraceptives  

When to see a doctor?

See your doctor immediately if you are having sharp pain in lower back or around the ribs along with chest pain, shortness in breath and decreased urine output.

Do not neglect the other symptoms we have mentioned above, because under such circumstances as well you need immediate medical help. The same applies to children.

Diagnosis of Renal Vein Thrombosis

Your doctor will first conduct a physical exam and check your medical history. The diagnosis basically indicates nephrotic syndrome and other underlying health problems.

The tests are:

  • Urinalysis for testing protein, serum creatinine  and blood in urine
  • X ray of the kidneys
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) to check enlargement of kidney
  • Doppler ultrasound scan
  • Renal arteriography for checking trauma in renal arteries
  • Renal ultrasound to detect clots and other abnormalities inside the renal vein
  • Detect presence of tumor through MRI and CT scan
  • Renal biopsy for assessing nephrotic syndrome and renal carcinoma

Treatment of Renal Vein Thrombosis

The treatment is completely based on the diagnosis reports.

  • The main goal is to dissolve the clot and prevent it from spreading or recurring in future. The treatment options for this are: Clot-busting medications (tissue plasminogen activators (like streptokinase enzymes) and anticoagulant drugs (warfarin)
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are prescribeD to stop protein loss through urine
  • Bypass surgery and renal endarterectomy are surgical options to remove blood clots
  • Dialysis is given if kidney failure has been reported
  • Oral rehydration and intravenous (IV) fluids are given to children to regulate urination and rehydrate the body.
  • Under choric condition of complete blockage of the artery or in case of renal cancer, the kidney may be surgically removed.

The symptoms improve over the time and RVT is not fatal if treatment is done on time. There are no as such preventive measures; nevertheless you can do a very basic thing- keep your system always hydrated with lots of water and fresh juices.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 17, 2015