Acute Renal Failure

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/10/2009 10:21 AM (GMT -7)   
I am new to this forum stuff.  I have never posted anything anywhere so I ask that everyone bear with me.  I am at my wits end on knowing what to do for my husband.  I am tired of doctors answering my questions with "that's just the way it is."  So I am hoping there is someone here who is going through or has been through this situation before.  My husband, who is in his early 50's) is in diastolic heart failure, acute renal failure, diabetic, and suffers from COPD.  I have been told that he is definitely not a candidate for any type of transplant because of multiple conditions.  He is on dialysis four times a week.  He is dizzy all the time because he is battling low blood pressure, sometimes dropping to 70/20, which means he cannot walk without the possibility of falling.  He has now fell 5 times in the last few days, one fall which sent him to the hospital in an ambulance.  He fell and hit his head and was knocked out for a few seconds.  Right now my main problem is his sleeping patterns.  He thrashes and talks "off the wall" when he tries to sleep.  He thinks he is fixing things, talks to other people, drives down the road, just about everything you can imagine.  When he doesn't sleep, I don't sleep.  I am concerned about him being septic.  His urine output is about 1/4 cup a day only if he can manage that.  Can anyone suggest specific questions I should ask the doctors?  And, I am wondering if this is not related to being septic, which I think they should have caught when they did blood tests two days ago, should I take him to a neurologist?  Please, any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thank you.

Lanie G
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5977
   Posted 5/10/2009 12:13 PM (GMT -7)   

Rider, I'm so sorry you and your husband are going through all this.  I know more about diabetes than the other ailments he has, so I can't answer your specific questions.  All I can give you are my thoughts and questions for you and what I would ask the doctors:  Does he see different specialists for these conditions?  Nephrologist, cardiologist and pulmonologist?  If so, do they consult with one another?  I know that his blood pressure must be kept normal because of the kidneys and heart condition, but why is it too low?  How many doctors are prescribing his medications??  Do these doctors know what other meds he's taking?  If he's taking a lot of meds, could some of them be causing the very low blood pressure and/or be working against each other?  That question can be answered by the pharmacist certainly.  Is his blood sugar controlled?  (Who's testing his blood sugar everyday?) Too low blood sugar causes confusion. 

I hope someone else can jump in here but since this is only the Diabetes section of HealingWell, I'm not sure if there'll be other responses.  You might also post in the Heart & Cardiovascular Forum here to see if anyone there can help.  I'm sorry I can't help more. 

forum moderator - diabetes
diabetes controlled so far by low/no carb diet and exercise; no meds

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/10/2009 1:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much. All three of his specialists talk to one another. In fact, all three are in the same building. Meds have been checked out and everything is okay there, even according to the pharmacist. I think my next step is to see a neurologist and rule out possibly anything with the brain function. Low blood pressure and passing out decrease or even stops oxygen to the brain which can also cause symptoms like his. I am looking for any insight possible. Thank you for your imput. I will post in Heart/Cardio. Thanks again.

Lanie G
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5977
   Posted 5/10/2009 2:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Rider, another question I just thought about.  Is he on oxygen therapy?  Is it possible he's not getting enough or getting too much oxygen?  And I'm wondering if his BP meds should be re-evaluated??

forum moderator - diabetes
diabetes controlled so far by low/no carb diet and exercise; no meds

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 5/10/2009 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
You certainly have your hands full. I can't offer anything other than some prayers for you during this rough time. Please know that I'm thinking of you and your husband.
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10405
   Posted 5/10/2009 8:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Rider, two things occurred to me. Has he had difficulty with sleep apnea ever? Sometimes that can sort of roll over into a state where people have semi-waking dreams. If they haven't done any studies of his oxygen saturations while sleeping, they might look at that. Sometimes something like CPAP can help.

The other thing is, if dialysis isn't completely clearing the toxins he could get confused from the kidney failure. There's also a kind of confusion that can occur in people on long-term dialysis.

It's probably best to make a list of all the symptoms and behaviors that are concerning you. Then take these to whichever of his doctors you have the best rapport with, and talk about the concerns you have.

I'm sorry your husband is having to go through all of this. Please make time to take care of yourself, too. I'll be thinking of you and sending healing thoughts your way.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC diagnosed 2001.
Flared for 5 years, finally in remission with Remicade since March 2006.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroids.
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Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/11/2009 2:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to HealingWell and I am sorry we have to meet like this.  Your husband is young and yet he is going through so much.  I empathize with you. 
I suspect your husband is in chronic renal failure not acute.  Acute kidney failure may be reversible if you're otherwise in good health, however, your husband seems to have problems with his cardiovascular, endocrine, and pulmonary system which make him at risk for so many things.  I am so sorry.
Chronic kidney failure is a gradual loss of your kidneys' filtering ability, usually due to high blood pressure or diabetes. When kidney function is seriously impaired, dangerous levels of fluid and waste can quickly accumulate in your body.

Chronic kidney failure can affect almost every part of your body. Potential complications may include:

Fluid retention, which could lead to swollen tissues, congestive heart failure or fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema)

A sudden rise in potassium levels in your blood (hyperkalemia), which could impair your heart's ability to function and may be life-threatening

Anemia, you may want to know what your husbands Hgb is and is he on oxygen for the heartfailure?  What are his Oxygen Saturation levels? 


Damage to your central nervous system

Decreased immune response, which makes you  more vulnerable to infection. You mentioned he may be septic?

Irreversible damage to your kidneys requiring either dialysis or a kidney transplant.  I understand with all his system failures he is not a candidate for a transplant. 

Confusion is a known symptom of renal failure. Another cause of confusion common in renal failure patients is electrolyte imbalance and/or blood pH changes. As the kidney failure gets worse and the toxins continue to build up in the body, mental confusion can result.

You may want to ask what  your husband's Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) level results are?  Urea itself is not toxic however, BUN is a marker for other nitrogenous waste. Thus, when renal failure leads to a buildup of urea and other nitrogenous wastes (uremia), an individual may suffer neurological disturbances such as altered cognitive function. Normal human adult blood should contain between 7 to 21 mg  of urea nitrogen.

Your husband has a very complicated medical case and I can certainly understand why you are confused and feeling like your not getting answers but there are so many factors in his history that can cause problems in his complete system. 

When my sister was so very ill, I made a list of questions and everyday would be ready to ask the physicians questions.  I also had a tendency to come on a bit assertive but I was advocating for her.  Please do remember you have the right to know so you can help your husband make informed consents re his treatment regime.

My heart goes out to you.

Bless you and my prayers are with you,






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