AKI is common in young, critically ill adults


Clinical question: What are the epidemiology, risk factors, and associated morbidity and mortality of acute kidney injury (AKI) in critically ill children and young adults?

Background: Adult studies on acute kidney injury have shown increasing mortality and morbidity when both plasma creatinine and urine output were used to diagnose AKI than when used alone. Studies of AKI in children have also been limited.

Study design: Prospective, observational study.

Setting: International (32 pediatric intensive care units across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America).

Synopsis: 4,984 patients aged 3 months to 25 years with a predicted ICU stay of at least 48 hours were considered for enrollment, of which 4,683 were included in the final analysis. The primary outcome was 28-day mortality. Secondary outcomes were length of stay in the ICU, receipt and duration of mechanical ventilation, receipt of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and renal-replacement therapy. A total of 26.9% of patients developed AKI in the first 7 days of an ICU admission. Severe AKI increased mortality by day 28 (adjusted odds ratio, 1.77; 95% confidence interval, 1.17-2.68) and was associated with increased use of renal-replacement therapy and mechanical ventilation and longer stays in the ICU. Urine output predicted mortality more accurately than did plasma creatinine, and using plasma creatinine alone failed to identify two-thirds of patients with low urine output.

Bottom line: In critically ill young patients, AKI is a common occurrence and is associated with both an increased morbidity and mortality. In a majority of patients with low urine output, plasma creatinine was a poor discriminant of renal function.

Citations: Kaddourah A, Basu RK, Bagshaw SM, et al. Epidemiology of acute kidney injury in critically ill children and young adults. N Eng J Med. 2017; 376 (1):11-20.

Dr. Rachoin is an assistant professor of clinical medicine and associate division head, Hospital Medicine, at Cooper Medical School at Rowan University. He works as a hospitalist at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J.

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