Urinary oxygen tension: a clinical window on the health of the renal medulla?

Roger George Evans, Julian Anderson Smith, Christopher Adrian Wright, Bruce S Gardiner, David W Smith, Andrew Donald Cochrane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the determinants of urinary oxygen tension (PO2) and the potential for use of urinary PO2 as a physiological biomarker of the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) in hospital settings. We also identify knowledge-gaps required for clinical translation of bedside monitoring of urinary PO2. Hypoxia in the renal medulla is a hallmark of AKI of diverse aetiology. Urine in the collecting ducts would be expected to equilibrate with the tissue PO2 of the inner medulla. Accordingly, the PO2 of urine in the renal pelvis changes in response to stimuli that would be expected to alter oxygenation of the renal medulla. Oxygen exchange across the walls of the ureter and bladder will confound measurement of the PO2 of bladder urine. Nevertheless, the PO2 of bladder urine also changes in response to stimuli that would be expected to alter renal medullary oxygenation. If confounding influences can be understood, urinary bladder PO2 may provide prognostically useful information, including for prediction of AKI after cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. To translate bedside monitoring of urinary PO2 into the clinical setting, we require (i) a more detailed knowledge of the relationship between renal medullary oxygenation and the PO2 of pelvic urine under physiological and pathophysiological conditions, (ii) a quantitative understanding of the impact of oxygen transport across the ureteric epithelium on urinary PO2 measured from the bladder, and (iii) a simple, robust medical device that can be introduced into the bladder via a standard catheter, to provide reliable and continuous measurement of urinary PO2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45 - 50
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this