Kidney nontumor / medical renal

Tubulointerstitial disease

Other tubular and interstitial disease

Obstructive uropathy

Last author update: 3 December 2012
Last staff update: 19 June 2023

Copyright: 2002-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Obstructive uropathy [title] human

Nikhil Sangle, M.D.
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Cite this page: Sangle N. Obstructive uropathy. website. Accessed September 21st, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Obstructive uropathy is structural or functional hindrance of normal urine flow, sometimes leading to renal dysfunction (obstructive nephropathy)
  • Acute obstruction increases susceptibility to infection; chronic obstruction causes hydronephrosis
  • Causes: bladder neck obstruction, congenital (meatal stenosis, anterior / posterior urethral valves [Pediatr Surg Int 2009;25:613], ureteropelvic junction narrowing, urethral strictures, vesicoureteral reflux); cystocoele, inflammation, neurogenic ureter / bladder, pregnancy, prostatic hypertrophy, sloughed papillae or blood clots, stones, tumors, uterine prolapse
  • Symptoms: none if unaffected kidney maintains adequate function; pain due to distention of collecting system or renal capsule; early - nocturia, polyuria; after relief of obstruction, may get massive diuresis with sodium wasting
  • Hydronephrosis: cystic dilation of renal pelvis and calyces associated with progressive atrophy of kidney, due to obstructive uropathy
Gross description
  • Thin cortical rim due to atrophy
  • More calyceal dilation if incomplete obstruction, since glomerular filtration is not suppressed
Gross images

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Various images

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Initial functional alterations are tubular, cause interstitial inflammatory infiltrate
  • Chronic changes are cortical atrophy, diffuse interstitial fibrosis and blunting of calyces
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