Pyelonephritis causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Venkata Sivakrishna Kumar Pulivarthi M.B.B.S [2],Usama Talib, BSc, MD [3]


Causes of uncomplicated and complicated pyelonephritis are mostly similar. Common causes of complicated pyelonephritis include infections such as E. coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Proteus, Klebsiella, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.


Common Causes

Bacterial microorganisms are the most common cause of pyelonephritis.[1][2][3][4][5]

  • Most cases of "community-acquired" pyelonephritis are due to bowel organisms that enter the urinary tract. Common organisms are:[6]

Less Common Causes

Following are the pathogens less frequently involved in causing pyelonephritis:[1][8]

Fungal Causes

Fungi are rarely found as a cause of pyelonephriti:[1]

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular No underlying causes
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Cyclophosphamide, Indinavir, Sirolimus, Spermicide use
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease E. coli  , Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis  , Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Renal tuberculosis, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Tiagabine
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic No underlying causes
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional/Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic No underlying causes
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal/Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kofteridis DP, Papadimitraki E, Mantadakis E, Maraki S, Papadakis JA, Tzifa G; et al. (2009). "Effect of diabetes mellitus on the clinical and microbiological features of hospitalized elderly patients with acute pyelonephritis". J Am Geriatr Soc. 57 (11): 2125–8. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02550.x. PMID 20121956.
  2. Bass PF, Jarvis JA, Mitchell CK (2003). "Urinary tract infections". Prim Care. 30 (1): 41–61, v–vi. PMID 12838910.
  3. Roberts JA (1999). "Management of pyelonephritis and upper urinary tract infections". Urol Clin North Am. 26 (4): 753–63. PMID 10584616.
  4. Bergeron MG (1995). "Treatment of pyelonephritis in adults". Med Clin North Am. 79 (3): 619–49. PMID 7752732.
  5. Zilberberg MD, Shorr AF (2013). "Secular trends in gram-negative resistance among urinary tract infection hospitalizations in the United States, 2000-2009". Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 34 (9): 940–6. doi:10.1086/671740. PMID 23917908.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ramakrishnan K, Scheid DC (2005). "Diagnosis and management of acute pyelonephritis in adults". Am Fam Physician. 71 (5): 933–42. PMID 15768623.
  7. Yeow Y, Chong YL (2016). "Xanthogranulomatous pyelonephritis presenting as Proteus preperitoneal abscess". J Surg Case Rep. 2016 (12). doi:10.1093/jscr/rjw211. PMC 5159021. PMID 27915241.
  8. Alfouzan W, Al-Sahali S, Sultan H, Dhar R (2016). "Classical Presentation of Acute Pyelonephritis in a Case of Brucellosis". Case Rep Nephrol Dial. 6 (2): 83–88. doi:10.1159/000446393. PMC 5216229. PMID 28101501.

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