Adding Disease to Injury

Acute kidney injury associated with chronic kidney disease in hospitalized diabetes patients

(RxWiki News) Acute kidney injury, or the rapid loss of kidney function, is common in hospitalized diabetes patients. While an acute injury could mean death, it also can leave survivors with some long-term health problems.

Diabetes patients who had an acute kidney injury while in the hospital may have a higher risk of chronic kidney disease. For every additional acute injury, the risk of kidney disease doubled.

"Get screened after an acute kidney injury."

Diabetes patients face the risk of kidney failure for a number of reasons, including high blood pressure and too much protein in the urine. Charuhas Thakar, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and colleagues wanted to see if acute kidney injury on its own was leading to the increased risk of kidney disease.

According to Dr. Thakar, diabetes is the main contributor to the growing rates of chronic kidney disease in the United States. Kidney disease, he continues, can lead to end-stage kidney disease and a greater risk of hospitalization. It is also dramatically increases the risk of acute kidney injury.

Acute kidney injury - which used to be called acute renal failure - happens when the kidney can no longer filter blood effectively. Patients in the hospital often suffer from acute kidney injury because of a low blood volume, blockage of the urinary tract, or treatments that harm the kidneys.

From their study, the researchers found that patients who had any acute kidney injury were three times more likely to develop kidney disease, compared to those who had no acute injury. The risk of kidney disease increased twofold for every extra acute injury.

These findings show the need for better strategies to stop or treat acute kidney injury in hospitalized diabetes patients, says Dr. Thakar. Preventing kidney disease in these patients, he adds, is one way to slow the growing rates of kidney disease among all diabetes patients.

Dr. Thakar also notes that these findings suggest there is room for improvement when it comes to medical care for diabetes patients discharged from the hospital after suffering from acute kidney injury.

For their study, the researchers conducted follow-up care for more than 4,000 diabetes patients from the Veterans Affairs health care system.

The study - which was funded by a Career Development Award from the Veterans Health Administration - appears in the November issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

Review Date: 
November 1, 2011