Within the last decade much progress has been made in the understanding of renal physiology and disease due to the introduction of electron microscopy, and percutaneous renal biopsy. However, the clinician is still faced with the fact that he is generally unable to cure renal disease, or to effectively stay its progression. One exception is present—acute renal failure.
Acute renal failure is a clinical syndrome which is characterized by oliguria-anuria and progressive azotemia with electrolyte imbalance. Diseases such as acute glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, or obstructive uropathies are excluded because the injury to the kidney in acute renal failure is confined chiefly to the tubular cells and the basement membrane. It is true that the aforementioned disease may produce acute renal insufficiency, but the term acute renal failure is reserved for those cases which result from acute tubular damage produced by either nephrotoxic agents or renal ischemia. Acute renal failure is synonymous
EARL G. SCHULZ, FRANCIS D. MURPHY. Treatment of Acute Renal Failure. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(3):453–459. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270030109011