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Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Nephrology - Public Health and Epidemiology

Long-Term Follow-Up of Patients after Acute Kidney Injury: Patterns of Renal Functional Recovery
Published: Friday, May 04, 2012
Author: Etienne Macedo et al.

by Etienne Macedo, Dirce M. T. Zanetta, Regina C. R. M. Abdulkader

Background and Objectives

Patients who survive acute kidney injury (AKI), especially those with partial renal recovery, present a higher long-term mortality risk. However, there is no consensus on the best time to assess renal function after an episode of acute kidney injury or agreement on the definition of renal recovery. In addition, only limited data regarding predictors of recovery are available.

Design, Setting, Participants, & Measurements

From 1984 to 2009, 84 adult survivors of acute kidney injury were followed by the same nephrologist (RCRMA) for a median time of 4.1 years. Patients were seen at least once each year after discharge until end stage renal disease (ESRD) or death. In each consultation serum creatinine was measured and glomerular filtration rate estimated. Renal recovery was defined as a glomerular filtration rate value =60 mL/min/1.73 m2. A multiple logistic regression was performed to evaluate factors independently associated with renal recovery.


The median length of follow-up was 50 months (30–90 months). All patients had stabilized their glomerular filtration rates by 18 months and 83% of them stabilized earlier: up to 12 months. Renal recovery occurred in 16 patients (19%) at discharge and in 54 (64%) by 18 months. Six patients died and four patients progressed to ESRD during the follow up period. Age (OR 1.09, p<0.0001) and serum creatinine at hospital discharge (OR 2.48, p?=?0.007) were independent factors associated with non renal recovery. The acute kidney injury severity, evaluated by peak serum creatinine and need for dialysis, was not associated with non renal recovery.


Renal recovery must be evaluated no earlier than one year after an acute kidney injury episode. Nephrology referral should be considered mainly for older patients and those with elevated serum creatinine at hospital discharge.