Defined as a urine output <0.5ml/kg/h and caused by:

• Post-renal — urinary tract obstruction, e.g. blocked catheter, ureteric trauma, prostatism, raised intra-abdominal pressure, blood clot, bladder tumour.

• Renal — established acute renal failure, acute tubular necrosis, glomerulonephritis.

• Pre-renal — hypovolaemia, low cardiac output, hypotension, inadequate renal blood flow.

Obstruction and pre-renal causes of oliguria must be excluded before resorting to diuretics.

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