Published on January 31, 2020

Kidney Failure/Renal Disease

The kidneys are responsible for removing excess fluid and waste products from the body in the form of urine. When the kidneys don’t work properly, these substances accumulate in the blood and can cause problems that could be life-threatening and can impact nearly every aspect of the body. Damage to the nervous system can cause fatigue, nausea, personality changes and seizures. Excess fluid can cause swelling in the limbs and affect your ability to breathe. And electrolyte imbalance may result in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms.

Acute kidney failure occurs over the course of hours to days. It can be caused by an event that reduces the blood flow to the kidneys. It can also be caused by conditions that damage the kidneys, such as inflammation of the kidney’s filtration system or adverse side effects of toxins in the body. Chronic kidney disease is a decline in kidney function. Risk factors include diabetes and high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, being age 65 or older, high cholesterol, and heart disease.


Interventional radiologists at Silver Cross play an integral role in the management of patients with kidney failure by delivering minimally invasive treatments with less risk, less pain, and less recovery time than traditional surgery. When there’s a blockage preventing passage of urine from the kidney to the bladder, an interventional radiologist can place a percutaneous nephrostomy tube or ureteral stent to allow urine to flow from the kidney. For instances when patients require hemodialysis, an interventional radiologist can place a hemodialysis catheter or be part of a team that connects an AV fistula to blood vessels. Treatment options your interventional radiologist may offer include:

  • Percutaneous nephrostomy tube, which bypasses a blockage of the ureter (tube connecting the kidney and bladder) and directs urine into a bag outside of the body.
  • Ureteral stent placement, which inserts a tiny mesh tube to bypass a blockage of the ureter, connecting the kidney and bladder.
  • AV fistula, which is a connection between an artery and vein that gives an access point for dialysis.
  • Hemodialysis catheter, which is a temporary access point to allow for dialysis when an AV fistula is not available.

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.