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Synonyms: Ren (Latin), Nephron (Greek)
German: Niere

1 Definition

The kidney is a bean-shaped organ arranged in pairs and is responsible for the formation of urine (filtration and blood purification).

2 Anatomy

In humans, the kidneys are situated below the diaphragm in the retroperitoneal space and are 10-12 cm long and 5-6 cm wide. The weight varies between 120-200 gm. Each kidney is supplied with blood by an artery from the aorta.

The kidney consists of numerous small units called the nephrons, in which the urine is formed. Each human kidney contains 1 to 1.2 million nephrons. The nephron itself consists of a renal corpuscle (glomerulus) and a renal tubule.

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3 Physiology

The primary urine is filtered in the glomeruli, and the urine is concentrated by the counter current principle in the tubule.

Besides its secretory function, the kidney also produces the hormone renin, which increases blood pressure, and erythropoietin, which regulates the production of the red corpuscles (erythrocytes).

The function of the kidney can be assessed by the amount of urine, urine concentration and the concentration of urinary excreted substances (creatinine, urea, uric acid and potassium) in the blood.

The exact performance of the kidneys is determined by the clearance.

4 Examination methods of the kidney

5 Diseases of the kidney

  • Pyelonephritis = pyelitis
  • Glomerulonephritis = autoimmune infection of the kidneys
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney tumors
    • malign: hypernephroma
    • benign: e.g. angiomyolipoma
  • Congenital defects
    • Kidney duplication
    • Cystic kidneys
    • Horseshoe kidney
  • Renal insufficiency (liable for hemodialysis if required)
  • Uremia
  • Acute renal failure (ARF), anuria

Nephroptosis (colloquially "wandering kidney")


This page was last edited on 29 June 2016, at 10:30.

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