Neurological complications in renal failure: a review

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2004 Dec;107(1):1-16. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2004.07.012.


Neurological complications whether due to the uremic state or its treatment, contribute largely to the morbidity and mortality in patients with renal failure. Despite continuous therapeutic advances, many neurological complications of uremia, like uremic encephalopathy, atherosclerosis, neuropathy and myopathy fail to fully respond to dialysis. Moreover, dialytic therapy or kidney transplantation may even induce neurological complications. Dialysis can directly or indirectly be associated with dialysis dementia, dysequilibrium syndrome, aggravation of atherosclerosis, cerebrovascular accidents due to ultrafiltration-related arterial hypotension, hypertensive encephalopathy, Wernicke's encephalopathy, hemorrhagic stroke, subdural hematoma, osmotic myelinolysis, opportunistic infections, intracranial hypertension and mononeuropathy. Renal transplantation itself can give rise to acute femoral neuropathy, rejection encephalopathy and neuropathy in graft versus host disease. The use of immunosuppressive drugs after renal transplantation can cause encephalopathy, movement disorders, opportunistic infections, neoplasms, myopathy and progression of atherosclerosis. We address the clinical, pathophysiological and therapeutical aspects of both central and peripheral nervous system complications in uremia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / prevention & control
  • Renal Insufficiency / complications*
  • Renal Insufficiency / therapy
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / adverse effects