Glossary

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access:
The point on the body where a needle/catheter is inserted during dialysis.
acute:
Acute often means urgent and comes on suddenly.
acute renal failure:
Sudden and temporary loss of kidney function.
acute tubular necrosis (ATN):
A severe form of acute renal failure that develops in people with severe illnesses like infections or with low blood pressure.
albuminuria:
Albuminuria may be a sign of kidney disease. It is when a person has more than normal amounts of a protein (called albumin) in the urine.
allograft:
An organ or tissue transplant from one human to another.
Alport syndrome:
An inherited condition that generally develops during early childhood and is usually more serious in boys than in girls. It can result in kidney disease and lead to end-stage renal disease.
amyloidosis:
A condition in which a protein-like material builds up in one or more organs and interferes with the normal function of that organ.
analgesic associated kidney disease:
Loss of kidney function from the long-term use of pain-relieving medications.
anemia:
The condition of having too few red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.
antidiuretic hormone (ADH):
A natural body chemical that slows down the flow of urine.
anuria:
A condition in which a person stops making urine.
arterial line:
In hemodialysis, this is the tubing that takes blood from the body to the dialyzer.
arteriovenous (AV) fistula:
Surgical connection of an artery directly to a vein in patients who will need hemodialysis.
Artery:
A blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the body.
artificial kidney:
Also known as a dialyzer.
autoimmune disease:
A disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the body itself.
biopsy:
A procedure in which a tiny piece of a body is removed for examination under a microscope.
bladder:
An organ inside the pelvis that stores urine.
blood urea nitrogen (BUN):
A waste product found in the blood that comes from the breakdown of food protein.
calcium:
A mineral that the body requires for strong bones and teeth.
catheter:
A tube inserted through the skin into a blood vessel or cavity to draw out fluid or infuse fluid.
chronic:
An illness that develops slowly but lasts a long time.
chronic kidney disease:
Slow and progressive loss of kidney function.
congenital nephrotic syndrome:
A genetic kidney disease that develops before birth or in the first few months of life and usually leads to end-stage renal disease.
creatinine:
A waste product from meat protein in the diet and from the muscles of the body.
creatinine clearance:
A test that measures how efficiently the kidneys remove creatinine and other wastes from the blood.
cross-matching:
A donor’s blood must be tested with the recipient’s blood to access compatibility prior to a transplant.
cyst:
An abnormal sac, which can form in kidneys or on other parts of the body, containing gas, fluid, or a semisolid material.
cystine:
An amino acid found in blood and urine.
cystine stone:
A rare form of kidney stone consisting of the amino acid cystine.
cystinuria:
A condition in which urine contains high levels of the amino acid cystine.
cystitis:
Inflammation of the bladder, which can cause pain or a burning feeling.
cystoscope:
A tool used to examine the bladder.
diabetes insipidus:
This condition is characterized by frequent and heavy urination, excessive thirst, and an overall feeling of weakness.
diabetes mellitus:
This condition is characterized by high blood glucose from the body’s inability to use glucose efficiently.
dialysis:
This is a process used to clean wastes from the blood artificially, which is normally done by the kidneys.
dialysis solution:
A cleansing liquid used in the two major forms of dialysis—hemodialysis and Peritoneal dialysis.
dialyzer:
A part of the hemodialysis machine: one section of it holds the dialysis solution, and the other part holds the patient’s blood.
donor:
A person who offers blood, tissue, or an organ for transplantation.
dry weight:
The ideal weight for a person after a hemodialysis.
dwell time:
This is the amount of time a bag of dialysis solution remains in the patient following peritoneal dialysis.
edema:
Swelling due to too much fluid in the body.
electrolytes:
Chemicals in the body fluids that result from the breakdown of salts, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride.
end-stage renal disease (ESRD):
Total and permanent kidney failure.
erythropoietin:
A hormone made by the kidneys to help form red blood cells.
exchange:
This is the draining of used dialysis solution from the abdomen in peritoneal dialysis.
extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL):
A nonsurgical procedure using shock waves to break up kidney stones.
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR):
A calculation of how efficiently the kidneys are filtering wastes from the blood.
glomerulonephritis:
Inflammation of the glomeruli.
glomerulosclerosis:
Scarring of the glomeruli.
glomerulus:
A tiny set of looping blood vessels in the nephron where blood is filtered in the kidney.
Goodpasture syndrome:
An uncommon disease that usually involves bleeding from the lungs, coughing up of blood, and inflammation of the kidneys.
graft:
This is a vascular access surgically created using a synthetic tube to connect an artery to a vein in hemodialysis.
hematocrit:
A red blood cell sample measurement.
hematuria:
A condition in which urine contains blood or red blood cells.
hemodialysis:
The use of a machine to clean wastes from the blood after the kidneys have failed.
hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS):
A disease that destroys red blood cells and affects the blood and blood vessels.
hormone:
A natural chemical produced in the body and released into the blood to regulate particular functions.
hydronephrosis:
Swelling of the top of the ureter usually due to the blockage of urine.
hypercalciuria:
This is when abnormally large amounts of calcium are found in the urine.
hyperoxaluria:
This is when abnormally large amounts of oxalate are found in the urine.
hypertension:
Also known as high blood pressure.
IgA nephropathy:
This is a kidney disorder caused by deposits of the protein immunoglobulin A (IgA) inside the glomeruli within the kidney.
immune system:
The body’s system for protecting itself from viruses and or any other foreign substances.
immunosuppressant:
This drug is used to suppress the natural responses of the body’s immune system.
Interstitial nephritis:
Inflammation of the kidney cells that are not part of the fluid-collecting units.
intravenous pyelogram:
An x-ray of the urinary tract.
kidney:
One of two bean-shaped organs, located near the back, responsible for filtering wastes from the blood.
kidney failure:
Loss of kidney function.
kidney stone:
A stone that develops from crystals that form in urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney, in the renal pelvis, or in the ureters.
Kt/V:
A measurement of dialysis dose.
lithotripsy:
A method of breaking up kidney stones using shock waves or other means.
lupus nephritis:
Inflammation of the kidneys caused by an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus.
membrane:
A thin sheet or layer of tissue that lines a cavity or separates two parts of the body.
membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis:
A disease that occurs primarily in children and young adults, and results in inflammation that can lead to scarring in the glomeruli.
membranous nephropathy:
A disorder that hinders the kidneys’ ability to filter wastes from the blood because of harmful deposits on the glomerular membrane.
nephrectomy:
Surgical removal of a kidney.
nephrogenic diabetes insipidus:
Constant thirst and frequent urination because the kidney tubules are not responding.
nephrologist:
A doctor who treats patients with kidney problems or hypertension.
nephron:
A tiny part of the kidneys.
nephropathy:
This refers to any disease of the kidney.
nephrotic syndrome:
A collection of symptoms that indicate kidney damage.
nuclear scan:
A test of the structure, blood flow, and function of the kidneys.
oxalate:
A chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form the most common type of kidney stone.
pelvis:
The bowl-shaped bone that supports the spine and holds up the digestive, urinary, and reproductive organs.
percutaneous nephrolithotomy:
A method for removing kidney stones.
peritoneal dialysis:
Cleaning the blood by using the lining of the abdominal cavity as a filter.
peritoneum:
The membrane lining the peritoneal cavity.
peritonitis:
Inflammation of the peritoneum, a common complication of peritoneal dialysis.
polycystic kidney disease (PKD):
An inherited disorder characterized by many grape-like clusters of fluid-filled cysts that make both kidneys larger over time.
potassium:
A mineral found in the body and in many foods.
proteinuria:
A condition in which the urine contains large amounts of protein, which can be a sign that the kidneys are not functioning properly.
pyelonephritis:
An infection of the kidneys.
renal:
Of the kidneys.
renal agenesis:
The absence or severe malformation of at least one kidney.
renal cell carcinoma:
A type of kidney cancer.
renal cysts:
Abnormal fluid-filled sacs in the kidney that range in size from microscopic to much larger.
renal osteodystrophy:
Weak bones caused by poorly working kidneys.
renal pelvis:
The basin into which the urine formed by the kidneys is excreted before it travels to the ureters and bladder.
renal tubular acidosis:
A defect in the kidneys that prevents or alters their normal excretion of acids.
renal vein thrombosis:
Blood clots in the vessel that carry blood away from the kidney.
renin:
A hormone made by the kidneys that helps regulate the volume of fluid in the body and blood pressure.
sodium:
A mineral found in the body and in many foods.
struvite stone:
A type of kidney stone caused by infection.
transplant:
The replacement of a failed organ with a healthy one.
urea:
A waste product found in the blood and caused by the normal breakdown of protein in the liver.
uremia:
Due to kidneys not working appropriately, this is an illness associated with the buildup of urea in the blood.
ureteroscope:
A tool used for examining the bladder and ureters and also for removing kidney stones through the urethra.
ureters:
Tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
urethra:
The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside.
uric acid stone:
A kidney stone that could be caused by a diet high in animal protein.
urinalysis:
A test of a urine sample that can reveal many problems of the urinary system and other body systems.
urinary tract:
The system that takes wastes from the blood and carries them out of the body in the form of urine.
urinary tract infection (UTI):
This is an illness caused by harmful bacteria growing in the urinary tract.
urinate:
To release urine from the bladder.
urine:
Liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and released from the body through the urethra.
urolithiasis:
Stones in the urinary tract.
URR (urea reduction ratio):
Used to measure the success of dialysis, this is a blood test that compares the amount of blood urea nitrogen before and after dialysis.
vascular access:
Used to describe the area on the body where blood is drawn for circulation through a hemodialysis circuit.
vein:
A blood vessel responsible for carrying blood toward the heart.
venous line:
In hemodialysis, tubing that carries blood from the dialyzer back to the body.
vesicoureteral reflux:
An abnormal condition in which urine backs up into the ureters (occasionally into the kidneys) raising the risk of infection.
void:
Meaning to urinate, empty the bladder.
Wegener’s granulomatosis:
An autoimmune disease that damages the blood vessels and causes disease in the lungs, upper respiratory tract, and kidneys.