CKD after AKI in the ICU

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I give a regular talk to the residents in the ICU on CRRT and one of the things that I focus on is prognosis. We all know that the outcomes of patients requiring CRRT in the ICU are poor. Multiple studies have shown that the mortality is 40-60% and that this mortality rate has not changed in the last 20 years. However, something that residents are less aware of is that, in the event that a patient survives their stay in the ICU, the majority will not require long term dialysis – approximately 80%. This is sometimes difficult to appreciate when you see patients on HD at discharge from the ICU but most of these will recover at least some renal function. One question, however, is how much function they recover and if this has any bearing on their overall mortality.

A paper recently published in CJASN goes a long way towards answering these questions. This was a retrospective cohort study of all 1220 patients admitted to the ICU requiring CRRT in a single center in the Netherlands between 1994 and 2010. As expected, the in-hospital mortality was high (55%). Of those who survived, 12% did not recover enough renal function to come off dialysis after discharge.

The commonest reasons for admission were thoracic surgery and sepsis. 20% of patients had pre-existing CKD, 48% had normal baseline renal function. There was no baseline in the remainder. At the time of discharge from hospital, 60% of patients had some degree of renal dysfunction (30% eGFR 30-60, 15% eGFR 15-30, 15% eGFR 0-15 including the 12% on HD). Of note, more than half of the patients with an eGFR <15 at discharge had pre-existing CKD. Unadjusted patient and renal survival is shown in the table:

The independent predictors of long term mortality were age, a surgical diagnosis, malignancy and an eGFR < 30. Similarly, the predictors of future need for dialysis were pre-existing CKD, and an eGFR < 30 at discharge. Interestingly, an eGFR between 30 and 60 was not associated with an increased risk of mortality or need for RRT in the future, relative to those with normal renal function at discharge.

This study adds to our knowledge of the predictors of outcomes after an episode of AKI requiring CRRT. No-one should be surprised that patients with significantly reduced GFR at discharge at are increased risk of mortality and need for eventual dialysis. However, it is reassuring that, in those patients who have an eGFR >60 at discharge, the likelihood of them requiring dialysis in the future is very low. It would be interesting to know if the presence of proteinuria modified the relationship between eGFR and mortality/need for dialysis, particularly in those with an eGFR between 30 and 60 at discharge but unfortunately, these data were not available.

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