Hospitalized patients with acute kidney injury may not be receiving sufficient care after discharge
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is the most common in-hospital diagnosis seen by US nephrologists, but patients with the condition may not be receiving sufficient follow-up care. That's the conclusion of a study that will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2013 November 5-10 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.
AKI, an abrupt decline in kidney function, is an increasingly prevalent and potentially serious condition in hospitalized patients. It sometimes arises after major surgery because the kidneys can be deprived of normal blood flow during such procedures. This year, World Kidney Day (March 14, 2013) focused on raising awareness of the short- and long-term consequences of AKI.
Researchers led Jay Koyner, MD (University of Chicago) sought to estimate the extent of in-hospital and outpatient nephrology care devoted to the care of patients with AKI. On World Kidney Day, they conducted an internet-based survey of all 4957 US-based physician members of the American Society of Nephrology.
The team received survey responses from 598 nephrologists. About half worked in a teaching hospital with a median of 398 beds. Among the
- Respondents saw a median of 12 patients in the hospital compared with eight patients seen in clinics.
- A median of four patients seen in the hospital had pre-existing kidney failure while five patients had AKI.
- Most patients seen in the hospital had AKI, comprising 46% (1500 patients) of the sample, followed by kidney failure (38%, or 1233 patients).
- Among patients seen in the hospital for AKI, a median of two were critically ill, and one required renal replacement therapy, which includes dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Among patients seen in clinics, a median of one patient was seen for follow-up of in-hospital AKI; 55% of physicians reported that in the prior year, less than10% of patients seen in the clinic were for follow-up of in-hospital AKI.
The findings indicate that AKI is the most common in-hospital diagnosis seen by US nephrologists. Also, patients with AKI are often critically ill, but survivors of in-hospital AKI do not comprise a large part of nephrologists' outpatient clinic encounters. "These findings call for continued efforts to promote excellence in the delivery of renal replacement therapy to patients with AKI, and reliable transition of care services following hospital discharge from an AKI episode," the investigators wrote.