Few With Acute Kidney Injury See Specialists, Study
THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans who
experience acute kidney injury that does not get better do not see
a kidney specialist within a year, which suggests that doctors need
to do more to identify and treat these patients, a new study
Acute kidney injury, an abrupt or rapid decline in kidney
function, is a potentially deadly condition. In some cases it is
caused by medical or surgical complications that deprive the
kidneys of normal blood flow for long periods of time.
This explains why acute kidney injury often occurs in
hospitalized patients, the researchers noted in a news release from
the American Society of Nephrology.
For the study, investigators analyzed U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs data from 3,929 survivors of acute kidney injury
who were hospitalized between January 2003 and December 2008, and
continued to have poor kidney function a month after they developed
After one year of follow-up, 22 percent of the patients had
died, according to the report published in the Dec. 8 online
edition of the
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Only 8.5 percent of all the patients were referred to a kidney
specialist before they died, started dialysis or had an improvement
in kidney function, the study authors reported.
The severity of acute kidney injury did not affect whether
patients were referred to a kidney specialist, they pointed
"This study shows that only a minority of patients who do not recover their kidney function after an [acute kidney injury] event are seen by a kidney specialist, highlighting an important opportunity for a more integrated approach in maintaining the kidney health of these patients," Dr. Michael Matheny, of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Veterans Administration, said in the news release.
"The findings also underscore the need for more research to help identify those patients who are at highest risk for persistent kidney problems and who might benefit from the input of a kidney specialist," he added.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney
Diseases has more about the
kidneys and kidney problems.
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