Kidney trauma: what it is, what are its symptoms and available treatments

Kidney trauma is caused by a direct impact or blunt force to the kidney region. The kidneys are vital organs located in the back and upper part of the abdomen. These are susceptible to injuries in the event of accidents, falls, blows or sports injuries.

protección del riñon

What is kidney trauma?

The severity of kidney trauma can range from mild kidney contusion to severe kidney trauma with life-threatening complications. For this reason, it is crucial to seek emergency medical attention if after suffering a trauma, we experience significant pain or detect blood in our urine. It is essential to undergo a medical evaluation in these circumstances to ensure appropriate care and avoid complications.

What happens when you receive a blow to the kidneys?

The kidneys are delicate organs located in the back of the abdomen, just below the ribs, and are protected by muscles, fat and ribs, but depending on the energy and type of impact they can suffer more or less damage.

Symptoms of kidney trauma

The main symptoms of kidney trauma are the following:

  • Acute Pain: A blow to the kidneys often causes immediate, sharp pain in the affected area. This pain can vary in intensity, from mild to severe, depending on the force of the impact.
  • Bruises: Bruising may appear in the affected area due to the rupture of small blood vessels. These can vary in size and color, from red initially to green or yellow as they heal.
  • Hematuria: Traumatic kidney injury can cause bleeding in the urinary tract, resulting in blood in the urine, known as hematuria. Blood in urine may be visible to the naked eye or detected by medical tests.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: In severe cases of kidney injuries, you may feel nauseous and experience vomiting due to pain.
  • shock: In extremely severe cases, kidney trauma can cause shock due to internal blood loss. This is manifested by paleness, excessive sweating, rapid pulse and weakness.

Importantly, if you experience a severe blow to the kidneys or any serious symptoms after impact, you should seek medical attention immediately. Kidney injuries can be potentially serious, and prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent complications and ensure proper recovery.

dolor tras caida en escalera

Classification of kidney injuries

Kidney trauma is classified according to the scale proposed and updated in 2018 by the AAST (American Association for the Surgery of Trauma).

  • Grade I
    • Contusion: Microscopic or macroscopic hematuria, normal urological studies
    • Hematoma: Unexpanded subcapsular hematoma without parenchymal laceration
  • Grade II
    • Hematoma: Unexpanded perinephric hematoma confined to the Gerota fascia
    • Laceration: Laceration < 1cm deep of the renal cortex without urinary extravasation
  • Grade III
    • Laceration: Laceration > 1 cm deep of the renal cortex without rupture of the collecting system or urinary extravasation. Any injury in the presence of a renal vascular injury or active bleeding contained within Gerota's fascia
  • Grade IV
    • Laceration: Parenchymal laceration extended through the renal cortex, medulla and collecting system. Laceration of the renal pelvis and/or complete ureteropelvic rupture.
    • Vascular: Segmental injury to the renal vein or artery. Active bleeding beyond Gerota's fascia into the retroperitoneum or peritoneum. Segmental or complete kidney infarction(s) due to vessel thrombosis without active bleeding
  • Grade V
    • Laceration: Kidney completely destroyed
    • Vascular: Avulsion of the renal hilum, devascularization of the kidney
Grados trauma renal

Causes of kidney trauma

Some of the most common causes of kidney trauma include:

  • Traffic accidents: Car, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents can cause kidney injuries due to the force of the impact.
  • Falls: Falls from heights, stairs, or elevated surfaces can result in kidney injuries if the body receives a blow to the lower back during the fall.
  • Sports injuries: Contact sports, such as boxing, kickboxing, football, rugby or martial arts, increase the risk of kidney trauma due to collisions or falls during sporting activity.
  • Work accidents: In certain work environments, such as construction or industry, workers may be exposed to situations that increase the risk of kidney trauma, such as falls from heights or impacts with blunt objects.
  • Violence: Blows, punches or injuries caused by acts of violence can affect the kidneys.


caida desde escalera

Diagnosis of kidney trauma

The diagnosis of kidney trauma requires a complete medical evaluation and a series of medical tests to determine the severity and extent of the injury:

  • Clinical History and Physical Examination: The urologist will begin by obtaining information about the patient's medical history and ask about how the trauma occurred. Next, he or she will perform a physical examination that will include palpation of the abdominal and lower back area to evaluate for the presence of pain, tenderness, or signs of trauma.
  • Urine analysis: A urine test is performed to detect the presence of blood (hematuria) or other indicators of kidney injury.
  • Blood test: This includes the measurement of creatinine and glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
  • Imaging Tests:
    • Abdominal ultrasound: It is an initial imaging test that can help identify the presence of bleeding, bruises or ruptures in the kidneys.
    • Computed Tomography (CT) Abdominal and pelvic: CT is a very effective diagnostic tool to evaluate kidney lesions. It can provide detailed information about the extent of the injury and the presence of bruises, lacerations or tears.

Clinic specialized in the treatment of kidney trauma in Madrid

In summary, in Ramirez Urology We are ready to be your ally in caring for your kidneys. We invite you to request an appointment and take the first step towards the well-being of your kidney health.