Acute Kidney Injury on the Rise in the U.S.

A new retrospective study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco highlights the alarming rise of acute kidney injury (AKI) in the United States. AKI is a sudden loss of kidney function caused by serious infections such as sepsis; complications after surgery, particularly cardiac surgery; a traumatic accident or exposure to harmful drugs. Patients may require temporary dialysis to restore kidney function. Currently, there are no drugs to treat AKI. According to the study, incidents of AKI rose 10 percent each year from 2000 to 2009. The number of deaths from AKI more than doubled in that time period, accounting for almost 39,000 deaths in 2009. About one-fifth of AKI patients requiring dialysis died.

The scientists believe that increasing rates of severe infections, acute heart failure and other common causes of AKI explain about 30% of the rise in AKI cases. They will need to conduct more research to identify why AKI continues to increase, why some patients fare better than others after dialysis and how best to treat and prevent this often deadly affliction.

Sources:

Severe Acute Kidney Injuries Rising Rapidly in U.S., Science Daily, December 6, 2012

Serious Kidney Damage Increasing, Research Shows, USA Today, December 6, 2012

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