Could her renal failure be the underlying cause of the sudden memory loss?? Approximately 6 weeks ago, my 85-year-old Mother lost her (mostly) short-term memory. It was sudden and severe. Tests did not show a UTI but they treated her with low level antibiotics “just in case” – CT Scans and MRI’s are clear, lungs are clear. She has hypertension, high blood pressure, neuropathy, and has been on oxygen 24/7 since February. Until this time, she never had a single issue with memory. In 2004, she had a blood clot go to her kidney causing renal failure and has less than half (maybe ¼) of one kidney. She had one dialysis treatment in 2004 and has not had to have any more. Could her kidney failure be the underlying cause of the memory loss?? There are so many doctor’s involved that no one seems to be able to get on board with a solid answer or consensus. My understanding is that if it were due to a UTI, the memory would return (at least a little) as the antibiotics began to clear up the infection but this has not happened. Can you help me? Perhaps point me in the direction of the right specialist (her PCP, her nephrologist, her heart doctor?????) Besides the memory loss, she has not had any other physical symptoms that have developed in the last 3 months. A lung infection this summer has completely cleared after a (half) round of prednisone (which she forgot to keep taking but had enough to wipe it out, apparently). Mentally, until 6 weeks ago, she played Bridge 3-4 times a week, was president of the residential Independent Living Council (10 years), was in a book club, read at least one book per week for fun, played Mahjong, was very active in her facility, very structured and almost rigid in her routines. Now, she cannot remember where she is (in a rehab facility) and cannot remember why she is in there or what happened 30 minutes ago, or, 10 minutes ago sometimes. Thank you for any help you can offer.

I have not seen this sudden of memory loss be related to kidney disease. From your description, this seems like a very sudden and unexpected event. This might be described as acute delirium. Your mother has a number of very complicated medical issues that can be associated with delirium. In the evaluation of sudden neurological and psychiatric events, a neurologist is most likely to provide some type of insight into the event. A psychiatrist could also be consulted. In events that are this rapid of onset, I would be concerned about a new drug that may have been started that precipitated the delirium.

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