​Renal Artery or Vein Thrombosis


Renal artery or vein thrombosis is the blockage of the renal artery (which brings blood to the kidney) or renal vein (which carries blood away from the kidney) due to the formation of a blood clot. This causes malfunctioning of the kidney which can lead to high blood pressure and kidney failure if it is not treated immediately. In children, most cases of renal artery or vein thrombosis occur due to severe dehydration, which allows the blood to clot more readily. Dehydration can be caused by diarrhoea. 90% cases of renal vein thrombosis occur in infants less than a year old while 75% of the cases occur in babies less than a month old.

Symptoms of renal artery or vein thrombosis appear suddenly in most children. These include:

  • Pain in the lower back and sides of the abdomen

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Decreased urine output

  • Blood in urine

Seek immediate medical attention from the paediatric nephrologists  at the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital if your child exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • A high fever of 102 F or above

  • Sudden pain in the lower back

  • Sudden, severe swelling in leg

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Blood in urine

  • Decrease in urine output

If you notice that your child is dehydrated, provide them with clear fluids and oral rehydrating solutions until a doctor sees them.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Initially the doctor may inquire about your child’s symptoms and perform a physical examination to:

  • Palpate (feel) your child’s abdomen to detect kidney enlargement

  • Listen to your child’s heartbeat using a stethoscope. The doctor may also place the stethoscope on the abdomen to hear a “whooshing” sound that indicates that the blood is forcing through a blocked vein

Your child will be asked to undergo some more tests including:

  • Blood test, to check the protein and cholesterol levels, which may show low levels of protein albumin, overall decreased levels of blood protein and high levels of cholesterol

  • Urinalysis to determine the presence of fat and amount of proteins. You may be asked to collect your child’s urine samples over the period of twenty-four hours for an accurate result

  • Ultrasound of the kidneys which may reveal enlarged kidneys

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or CT (Computerized Tomography) scan to detect the blood clot

  • Renal venography in which a contrast material is injected into the renal vein or artery and X-rays are used to examine the highlighted blood vessels

Renal artery or vein thrombosis requires prompt treatment provided by our highly skilled doctors at the Children's Hospital Services at The Aga Khan University Hospital the only internationally accredited hospital in Pakistan.

One of the main aims of the treatment is to prevent the blood clot from dislodging and moving in to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), as it can cause serious complications. Treatment options include:

  • IV (Intravenous) fluids in case of severe dehydration

  • Anticoagulants, also called blood thinners, which reduces the blood’s ability to clot. They don’t break up existing clots but prevent them from getting bigger. This medication may not be suitable for children due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome (a serious disorder that causes swelling in the liver and brain)

  • Clot-busting medications which dissolve blood clots

  • An interventional catheter-based procedure in which a long, flexible tube called the catheter is inserted into a vein or artery and carefully threaded into the blocked blood vessel using X-ray for guidance. The end of the catheter carries a specialized balloon that rapidly inflated and deflated to open or widen the area. A stent (metal mesh tube) can also be placed to keep the area open

  • Intra-arterial thrombolysis in which a catheter is inserted in the vein or artery to deliver the clot-busting medication directly to the clot. The catheter is inserted through a large blood vessel in the groin to the location of blockage

  • In infants, surgery may be required to remove the affected kidney in life-threatening situations

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.


The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.