Patients with acute kidney injury at greater risk for premature death

People who suffer from acute kidney injury (AKI), a sudden loss of kidney function, are more likely to die prematurely after leaving the hospital even after their kidney function has recovered, according to a study conducted by researchers with the Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research. The data will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

The study looked at data from about 83,000 veterans with AKI. More than half of those patients needed dialysis at least temporarily, and many died prior to leaving the hospital. The Center for Health Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research study focused on veterans with AKI who did not require dialysis and who survived at least three months after leaving the hospital.

According to the data, 30 percent of the AKI patients died over the next two years. The researchers placed patients’ risk of death at about 40 percent higher for people with AKI compared to those without AKI. Patients with a severe form AKI were at an even higher risk for death.

Researchers say that the data was limited in that it did not include information on the serum creatinine test used to diagnose AKI, involved mostly men, did not include information on other causes of death, and did not take into account the long-term risk of chronic kidney disease which can lead to AKI. Researchers say the study’s results may help to inform further studies and improve patient care.