Ceftriaxone and acute renal failure in children

Pediatrics. 2014 Apr;133(4):e917-22. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2103. Epub 2014 Mar 24.


Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the clinical profile, treatment, and outcome of ceftriaxone-associated postrenal acute renal failure (PARF) in children.

Methods: We retrospectively studied 31 consecutive cases from 2003 to 2012 for PARF after ceftriaxone treatment. There was no past history of urolithiasis or nephropathy in these children.

Results: The average time of ceftriaxone administration before PARF was 5.2 days. The major symptoms apart from anuria included flank pain (>3 years old, 25/25), excessive crying (<3 years, 6/6), and vomiting (19/33). Ultrasound showed mild hydronephrosis (25/31) and ureteric calculi (11/31). Nine children recovered after 1 to 4 days of pharmacotherapy. Twenty-one children who were resistant to pharmacotherapy underwent retrograde ureteral catheterization. After catheterization of their ureters, normal urine flow was observed, and the symptoms subsided immediately. Catheter insertion failed in 1 child who subsequently underwent 3 sessions of hemodialysis before normal urination was restored. Ceftriaxone was verified to be the main component of the calculi in 4 children by tandem mass spectrometric analysis. The recovery was complete in all cases.

Conclusions: Ceftriaxone therapy in children may cause PARF. Early diagnosis and prompt pharmacological therapy are important in relieving the condition. Retrograde ureteral catheterization is an effective treatment of those who fail to respond to pharmacotherapy.

Keywords: acute renal failure; ceftriaxone; child.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis
  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Ceftriaxone / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ceftriaxone