Normal black kidney
Keywords:Black kidney, hemosiderin, lipofuscin, melanin deposition
A black kidney has 3 major differential diagnoses: hemosiderosis, lipofuscin pigment and melanotic renal cell carcinoma. Excluding lipofuscin, the other 2 are accompanied by an abnormal renal function. We report on a 25-year-old man who intended to donate a kidney to his cousin. On the operating room table when we incised the left flank region and exposed the kidney, we found a firm and black kidney so the operation was cancelled due to potential vascular injuries. Days after the incomplete procedure, we reviewed the donor’s biochemistry and imaging to reassess his renal function, but the results showed quite normal renal function again. The result of the Ham test was also negative. Two weeks later, we began the operation, removed the same left kidney and found that it was in the same condition as it was before. We took the opportunity to send needle biopsies of the kidney for histopathologic analysis. The analysis showed a melanotic kidney without pathological changes in glomeruli and interstitium and vessels. A black kidney may result in hemosiderin, lipofuscin or melanin deposits in the kidney, which can confirm the diagnosis; however, special tests for underlying disease and renal function should be considered. Some causes of black kidney lead to abnormal function, but our patients’s kidney returned to normal.
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