For patients in hospitals, a small increase in the malfunction of the kidneys can lead to an increased risk of death, especially for patients suffering from acute kidney injury (AKI). Researchers from University of California San Francisco had reported these results in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The researchers had analyzed data on 9,210 hospitalized patients who underwent serum creatinine measurement, a standard test of kidney function. The researchers sought to determine the rate of increases in serum creatinine, a sign of acute kidney injury and whether the occurrence of AKI affected the patients' risk of dying in the hospital.
Patients with AKI were at higher risk of dying in the hospital—the greater the increase in serum creatinine, the greater the risk. Even for patients in the mildest category of AKI, risk of death was 6.5 times higher. The risk remained significant even after adjustment for other factors such as age, severity of illness, and chronic kidney disease.
Most studies have focused on severe reductions in kidney function requiring dialysis or on patients with specific risk factors such as heart surgery. The new results suggest that while major AKI is relatively rare, modest AKI affects perhaps 13 percent of hospitalized adults. Patients with AKI are at increased risk of dying in the hospital and have a longer average length of hospital stay, with increased hospital costs.