02/01/2010 - Articles

Acute kidney injury in hospital increases mortality later on

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Acute kidney injury previously also known as acute renal failure) is a sudden loss of kidney function. While it’s entirely possible to recover from acute kidney injury in the short term, a new study shows that it may have long-term consequences for the patient. Researchers from the Center for health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research, Bedford, USA, looked at a Veterans Affairs database to see what impact acute kidney injury during hospitalization had upon a group of 83,000 patients. More than half of patients with acute kidney injury will need dialysis to replace their kidney function. Also, many of them do die before they leave hospital. In this study, the focus was upon those patients who did not need dialysis and who survived for at least three months following their discharge from hospital. In other words, these patients had seemingly recovered from their acute kidney injury.

During two years of follow up, 30% of the patients with acute kidney injury died compared to 16% of those without acute kidney injury. The risk was even higher among those with more severe acute kidney injury. Also mortality risk was increased even among those patients whose kidney function returned to normal after acute kidney injury, which was so in about half of the cases studied. Therefore, ongoing impaired kidney function did not totally explain why having acute kidney injury in hospital resulted in long-term increased mortality. These new findings may help improve the care of patients who experience acute kidney injury in a hospital setting.



Lafrance J-P and Miller DR Acute kidney injury associates with increased long-term mortality Journal of the American Society of Nephrology December 17 2009 doi:10.1681/ASN.2009060636


Created on: 02/01/2010
Reviewed on: 02/01/2010

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