Obstructive Uropathy

Obstructive Uropathy” refers to a problem passing urine that is a result of an obstruction along the urinary tract. When it causes an acute reduction in kidney function this is referred to as “postrenal acute kidney injury”.



Upper Urinary Tract Obstruction (i.e. ureters)

  • Loin to groin / flank pain on affected side (result of stretching / irritation of ureter and kidney
  • Reduced / no urine output
  • Non-specific symptoms (e.g. vomiting)
  • Reduced renal function on bloods

Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction (i.e. bladder / urethra)

  • Acute urinary retention (unable to pass urine and increasingly full bladder)
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms (e.g. poor flow, difficulty initiating urination, terminal dribbling)
  • Reduced renal function on bloods


Common causes

Upper Urinary Tract

  • Kidney stones
  • Local cancer masses pressing on the ureters
  • Ureter strictures (scar tissue narrowing tube)

Lower Urinary Tract

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Ureter or urethra strictures (from scar tissue)
  • Neurogenic bladder (no neurological signal telling bladder to contract)



  • Acute Kidney Injury (postrenal AKI)
  • Eventually chronic kidney disease
  • Infection (from pooling of urine and retrograde infection – bacteria tracking back up urinary tract)
  • Dilated kidney / ureters / bladder
  • Pain
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