Causes of Kidney Disorders
The most common cause of urinary obstruction in adults is kidney stones, although an injury or other conditions could cause the obstruction.
In newborns and children, the most common cause of urinary obstruction is a congenital blockage that occurs as the fetus is developing. The obstruction occurs at the point where the ureter joins the renal pelvis - the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ). This is the area at the center of the kidney where urine collects and is funneled into the ureter (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder).
During fetal development, a baby's kidneys first appear as buds inside the pelvis, near the bladder. As the kidneys develop, they climb gradually toward their normal position near the rib cage in the back. Sometimes, one of the kidneys fails to make the climb. It may stop after making part of the climb or remain in the pelvis. A child rarely has two ectopic kidneys.
Although much less common in adults, UPJ obstruction may be caused by kidney stones, previous surgery(ies) or disorders that cause inflammation of the upper urinary tract.
In UPJ obstruction, the kidney produces urine at a rate that exceeds the amount of urine able to drain out of the renal pelvis into the ureter. This causes accumulation of urine within the kidney. This accumulation is also called hydronephrosis and is easy to see on an ultrasound. This allows the physician to predict the presence of UPJ obstruction before the baby is born. Although much less common in adults, UPJ obstruction may be caused by kidney stones, previous surgery(ies) or disorders that cause inflammation of the upper urinary tract.
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PN 1002328 Rev A 04/2013