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Normal kidney functions occur through numerous cellular processes to maintain body homeostasis. Disturbances in any of these functions can lead to abnormalities that may be detrimental to survival. Clinical manifestations of these disorders depend on the pathophysiology of renal injury and often are identified as a complex of symptoms, abnormal physical findings, and laboratory changes that constitute specific syndromes. These renal syndromes (Table 48-1) may arise from systemic illness or as primary renal disease. Nephrologic syndromes usually consist of several elements that reflect the underlying pathologic processes, typically including one or more of the following: (1) reduction in glomerular filtration rate (GFR), (2) abnormalities of urine sediment (red blood cells [RBCs], white blood cells [WBCs], casts, and crystals), (3) abnormal excretion of serum proteins (proteinuria), (4) disturbances in urine volume (oliguria, anuria, polyuria), (5) presence of hypertension and/or expanded total body fluid volume (edema), (6) electrolyte abnormalities, and (7) in some syndromes, fever/pain. The specific combination of these findings should permit identification of one of the major nephrologic syndromes (Table 48-1) and allow differential diagnoses to be narrowed so that the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic course can be determined. All these syndromes and their associated diseases are discussed in more detail in subsequent chapters. This chapter focuses on several aspects of renal abnormalities that are critically important for distinguishing among those processes: (1) reduction in GFR, (2) alterations of the urinary sediment and/or protein excretion, and (3) abnormalities of urinary volume.

TABLE 48-1Initial Clinical and Laboratory Database for Defining Major Syndromes in Nephrology

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