Failure of upper urinary tract drainage is an emergent urologie condition. In many cases, a thorough history and physical examination can facilitate an accurate diagnosis. Advances in radiographic imaging have also improved the ability to differentiate both intrinsic and extrinsic causes of obstruction occurring in one or both kidneys. On the basis of the presenting signs and symptoms and with the radiographic information, a safe treatment plan can be instituted, providing necessary temporizing therapy or immediate definitive treatment. After the urgent problem is addressed, further diagnostic evaluation can be performed to ultimately treat underlying factors contributing to the initial presentation.

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