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Authors

  1. Henke, Kim RN, MPA, MSN
  2. Eigsti, Janice RN, BSN, CCRN

Abstract

Understanding the renal system can assist the nurse at the bedside to manage patients' therapies better and to monitor for potential renal insults. The focus of this article is to discuss basic renal anatomy and physiology in such a way that the information can be directly applied to patients experiencing both acute and chronic renal dysfunction, as well as preventing new insults. We review the nephron's structure using a descriptive approach that analyzes both the vascular and the tubular components. We spend the majority of our time on the microanatomic features of the renal vasculature, specifically the arteriole-glomeruli-arteriole-peritubular capillary system. Using this approach, the clinician will be better able to glean information from labs and diagnostics frequently used in identifying and treating patients with compromised renal function.