A

Access:
The point on the body where a needle/catheter is inserted during dialysis.

Acute:
Acute often means the sudden onset of disease that lasts a short duration.

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 a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity of hemoglobin. Red blood cells 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 fistula (AVF):
Surgical connection of an artery directly to a vein in patients who will need hemodialysis.

Arteriovenous g (AVG):
Surgical connection of a synthetic hose to an artery on one end and vein on the other.

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.

B

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.

C

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.

D

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. It may also be referred to as an artificial kidney.

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.

E

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 kidney disease (ESKD) or end-stage renal disease (ESRD):

Total and permanent kidney failure.

Erythropoietin (EPO):

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.

G

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.

H

Hematocrit:

A red blood cell sample measurement.

Hematuria:

A condition in which urine contains blood or red blood cells.

Hemodialysis (HD):

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 specific 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.

I

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.

K

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.

L

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.

M

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.

N

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.

O

Oxalate:

A chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form the most common type of kidney stone.

P

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 (PD):

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.

R

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.

S

Sodium:

A mineral found in the body and in many foods.

Struvite stone:

A type of kidney stone caused by infection.

T

Transplant:

The replacement of a failed organ with a healthy one.

U

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.

V

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.

W

Wegener’s granulomatosis:

An autoimmune disease that damages the blood vessels and causes disease in the lungs, upper respiratory tract, and kidneys.