Kidney injury: A serious risk to the health and survival of today's soldiers

December 8, 2011

Acute kidney injury (AKI), an abrupt or rapid decline in kidney function, is a serious and increasingly prevalent condition. Little information has been available about how common or how severe AKI is in military personnel who are injured during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. A new study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN) investigates this question in those burned during combat.

Captain Ian Stewart, MD, USAF (San Antonio Military Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston) and his colleagues examined military casualties who were evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan to burn units. When they used two different classification systems for AKI, the researchers found that AKI prevalence rates were 23.8% (according to one system) and 29.9% (according to the other) among 692 evacuated casualties. Patients with AKI were much more likely to die than patients without AKI: the among patients with moderate and severe AKI were 21.4% to 33.3% and 62.5% to 65.1%, respectively, compared with 0.2% among patients without AKI.

The majority of patients (57.6%) were diagnosed with AKI when they were admitted to the hospital, implying that factors related to combat may be responsible. Conversely, for patients who developed AKI after the first week (17.6%), complications from their hospitalization were likely the cause. Patients in the intermediate time range (24.8%) probably had some combination of factors.

"Our research shows that if a wounded warrior develops , he or she is at an increased risk of dying," said Dr. Stewart. "By preventing or modifying kidney injury, we may be able to improve survival in military personnel with burns and/or other ," he added. Additional studies are needed to test whether intervening to reduce AKI will save lives.

Explore further: New lab test predicts risk of kidney injury after surgery

Related Stories

New lab test predicts risk of kidney injury after surgery

March 12, 2008

A simple laboratory test may provide a new way for doctors to identify patients at risk of developing potentially severe acute kidney injury (AKI) after surgery—up to three days before the problem would otherwise be detected, ...

Kidney injury in hospital increases long-term risk of death

December 17, 2009

Patients with sudden loss of kidney function, called acute kidney injury (AKI), are more likely to die prematurely after leaving the hospital—even if their kidney function has apparently recovered, according to an upcoming ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria in smokeless tobacco products may be a health concern

August 26, 2016

Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American ...

Is tailgating toxic?

August 26, 2016

While tailgating this football season you may want to take a step back from the grill and generator—for your health.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.