Clinical question: To determine the incidence and consequences of acute kidney injury among children hospitalized with diarrheal illness in the United States.
Background: Diarrheal illness is the fourth leading cause of death for children younger than 5 years and the fifth leading cause of years of life lost globally. In the United States, diarrheal illness remains a leading cause of hospital admission among young children. Complications of severe diarrheal illness include hypovolemic acute kidney injury (AKI). Hospitalized children who develop AKI experience longer hospital stays and higher mortality. Additionally, children who experience AKI are at increased risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), hypertension, and proteinuria.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) from 2009 and 2012. The authors used secondary International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) diagnoses of AKI to identify patients.
Synopsis: The authors reviewed all patients with diarrhea and found that the incidence of AKI in children hospitalized was 0.8%. Those with infectious diarrhea had an incidence of 1% and with noninfectious diarrhea had an incidence of 0.6%. There was a higher incidence of dialysis-requiring AKI in patients with infectious diarrhea. The odds of developing AKI increased with older age in both infectious and noninfectious diarrheal illnesses. As compared with noninfectious diarrheal illness, infectious diarrheal illness was associated with higher odds of AKI (odds ratio, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-2.7). Irrespective of diarrhea type, hematologic and rheumatologic conditions, solid organ transplant, CKD, and hypertension were associated with higher odds of developing AKI. AKI in infectious diarrheal illness was also associated with other renal or genitourinary abnormalities, whereas AKI in noninfectious diarrheal illness was associated with diabetes, cardiovascular, and neurologic conditions.
Hospitalizations for diarrheal illness complicated by AKI were associated with higher mortality, prolonged LOS, and higher hospital cost with odds of death increased eightfold with AKI, mean hospital stay was prolonged by 3 days, and costs increased by greater than $9,000 per hospital stay. The development of AKI in hospitalized diarrheal illness was associated with an up to 11-fold increase in the odds of in-hospital mortality for infectious (OR, 10.8; 95% CI, 3.4-34.3) and noninfectious diarrheal illness (OR, 7.0; 95% CI, 3.1-15.7).
The strengths of this study include broad representation of hospitals caring for children across the United States. The study was limited by its use of ICD-9 codes which may misidentify AKI. The authors were unable to determine if identifying AKI could improve outcomes for patients with diarrheal illness.
Bottom line: AKI in diarrhea illnesses is relatively rare. Close attention should be given to AKI in patients with certain serious comorbid illnesses.
Article citation: Bradshaw C, Han J, Chertow GM, Long J, Sutherland SM, Anand S. Acute Kidney Injury in Children Hospitalized With Diarrheal Illness in the United States. Hosp Pediatr. 2019 Dec;9(12):933-941.
Dr. Kumar is a pediatric hospitalist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. She is a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University, and serves as the pediatrics editor for The Hospitalist.