Kidney Injury While Hospitalized May Lead to Future Dialysis

TUESDAY Sept. 15, 2009 -- Among patients who encounter serious kidney problems while hospitalized, those who require dialysis are not at increased risk of dying if they are able to recover and leave, but they are more likely to need dialysis on a regular basis in the future, researchers say.

According to the authors of a new study published in the Sept. 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, kidney injuries are common among adults who receive care in hospitals. In many cases, these patients require dialysis, and an estimated 45 percent to 70 percent die while in the hospital.

But little research has been done to find out about what happens to patients if they survive and are able to leave the hospital, the study authors noted.

Ron Wald, of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues looked at patients in Ontario, Canada, who experienced a kidney injury while hospitalized and required dialysis but survived and didn't need dialysis for at least a month.

After three years, the researchers "found that survivors of a hospitalization complicated by acute kidney injury requiring dialysis were approximately three times more likely to require chronic dialysis compared with those without acute kidney injury. However, no difference was observed between these groups for long-term mortality."

In an accompanying commentary, two doctors stressed that kidney disease shouldn't be neglected. "Given the extraordinarily high rates of morbidity and mortality observed in chronic kidney disease patients and acute kidney injury patients, the complex interconnection between them, and increasing incidence of both, kidney disease prevention and treatment should be a major public health priority."

More information

Learn more about kidney disease from the National Kidney Foundation.

Posted: September 2009


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