Acute Kidney Injury Cases On The Rise
December 8, 2012

Serious Kidney Injuries Have Doubled Over The Past Decade

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Severe acute kidney injuries (AKI) increased an average of 10 percent per year from 2000 to 2009, more than doubling over that time period, according to a new study by research from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The study, which is published this week in the online edition of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), discovered these injuries, which describe a sudden, rapid decline in the organ's function, increased from 222 cases per million people in 2000 to 533 cases per million people by 2009. Over that same time period, the number of AKI-related deaths jumped from 18,000 to 39,000, the university explained in a recent statement.

"That was a staggering revelation of how increasingly common and how life-threatening acute kidney injury has become over the past decade in the United States," said UCSF nephrologist and lead author Dr. Raymond K. Hsu.

"We hope that clinicians, researchers and the general public can gain a higher appreciation of the devastating impact of acute kidney injury that is comparable to the near universal, basic understanding of other forms of acute organ injury, such as heart attack and stroke," he added.

In addition, the study discovered older patients, men, and African-Americans were more likely to suffer from AKI severe enough to require kidney dialysis, but the overall increase was a trend across all ages, races, and genders, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) (which publishes JASN) said in a separate statement.

"The UCSF team estimated that about 30 percent of the increase can be attributed to commonly known causes, such as the rise in severe infections, ventilator usage, acute heart failure and cardiac catheterizations over the same time period," the university explained. "But doctors do not yet know what else accounts for the rise in acute kidney injury and what hospitals nationwide can do to address the problem.

"The findings revealed that the incidence of dialysis-requiring AKI is now higher than the incidence of end-stage renal disease that requires dialysis or a transplant," the ASN added. "Because the number of non-dialysis requiring AKI cases is approximately ten-fold higher than the number of dialysis-requiring AKI cases, and because even small acute changes in kidney function measurements are associated with increased morbidity and mortality, the data likely represent only the 'tip of the iceberg' in terms of the public health burden of AKI."