The Kidneys are paired, reddish-brown bean shaped solid organs that lie well protected deep within the retroperitoneum on either side of the spine.  Kidneys play an important role in maintening acid-base, water, and electrolyte balance, as well as regulating extracellular volume & blood pressure.  It produces hormones such as rennin, prostaglandins Kallikrein, vitamin D, and erythropoietin.  Kidneys also get rid of nitrogenous and other wastes from our body.

Kidneys are very unique organs in our body:

  • Kidneys compose only 1% of body weight yet receive 20% of total cardiac output.
  • The volume of urine excretal is about 1.5L per day, yet Kidneys filter out 180L per day of ultrafiltrate.  About 90% of this filtrate is reabsorbed.
  • When part of Kidneys (Nephron) is lost, the remaining functional nephrons take on an increased workload so that the overdue loss of function is minimized.

The normal kidney weighs approximately 140-150 grams and is 10-12 cm in length, 5-7 cm wide and 3-4 cm in thickness.  Kidneys are very vascular organs and they receive one-fifth of the total cardiac output.

Kidneys are affected in many ways by a variety of conditions, including, but not limited to:

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