The renal compartment: a hydraulic view

Pablo Cruces, Camila Salas, Pablo Lillo, Tatiana Salomon, Felipe Lillo, Daniel E. Hurtado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The hydraulic behavior of the renal compartment is poorly understood. In particular, the role of the renal capsule on the intrarenal pressure has not been thoroughly addressed to date. We hypothesized that pressure and volume in the renal compartment are not linearly related, similar to other body compartments. Methods: The pressure-volume curve of the renal compartment was obtained by injecting fluid into the renal pelvis and recording the rise in intrarenal pressure in six anesthetized and mechanically ventilated piglets, using a catheter Camino 4B® inserted into the renal parenchyma. Results: In healthy kidneys, pressure has a highly nonlinear dependence on the injected volume, as revealed by an exponential fit to the data (R2 = 0.92). On the contrary, a linear relation between pressure and volume is observed in decapsulated kidneys. We propose a biomechanical model for the renal capsule that is able to explain the nonlinear pressure-volume dependence for moderate volume increases. Conclusions: We have presented experimental evidence and a theoretical model that supports the existence of a renal compartment. The mechanical role of the renal capsule investigated in this work may have important implications in elucidating the role of decompressive capsulotomy in reducing the intrarenal pressure in acutely injured kidneys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalIntensive Care Medicine Experimental
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Compartment syndrome
  • Intrarenal pressure
  • Kidney biomechanics
  • Renal capsule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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