The Injured Kidney

A session blog from Day 1 of State of the Art, London December 2015. See the full list

Blogger: Tom Heaton

AKI: Who will get it?

Lui Forni

The session started with a great introduction to the problems with AKI from Lui Forni, bringing together a lot of what we know about predicting AKI.

Summary/Key messages

  • The lack of a clear universal definition of AKI is a hindrance.
  • Risk can be stratified according to susceptibility and exposures. Some of these are fairly well know e.g. CKD.
  • We are probably looking at current biomarkers wrong – creatinine useful in CKD but less so in AKI – many impacting factors such as muscle wasting in the ICU.
  • When we think about the aetiology of AKI in ICM, there are so many impacting factors.
  • We should probably abandon the search for the renal troponin.

References/Further reading

  1. Critical Care – Diagnosis, evaluation and management of AKI: a KDIGO summary – 2013 – 
  2. The Renal Association AKI guideline – 


Does it kill you?

Rinaldo Bellomo

After a brilliant opening session delivering the Gilston Lecture, Rinaldo Bellomo returned to provide a critical look at the impact of AKI on outcome.

Summary/Key messages

  • The key opening question: Do people die of AKI or with AKI?
  • There is evidence of association, but not causation – indeed will we ever find this without randomising people to be given an AKI.
  • Again the multiple different causes of AKI make it difficult to start with a clear biological model. The biological models we do have are very complex.
  • If we do know that is kills you, there is little we can do about it at the moment.

References/Further reading

  1. CKJ – The RIFLE & AKIN classifications for AKI – 2013 –
  2. Kidney International – AKI in the ICU –


Can you treat it?

Peter Pickkers

Peter Pickkers followed on from these important questions by taking up the point made by Professor Bellamo; what can we actually do about it?

Summary/Key messages

  • Can we do anything about it? No
  • Only current therapy is dialysis – support and not a treatment.
  • Interventions so far have not lived up to intervention – latest one being investigated is alkaline phosphatase
  • Again a lot of problems come back to definitions and understanding – can we target minimising initial injury or promoting recovery?

References/Further reading

  1. NICE guidance on AKI –


What are the long term effects?

John Prowle

Wrapping up the session, John Prowle really emphasised the importance of AKI on the long term health of the patient – this isn’t something that just gets completely better a lot of the time.

Summary/Key messages

  • The mechanism of injury and recovery in AKI is complex and our medical school models describing full recovery are probably inadequate.
  • There is a clear association between AKI and the development of CKD.
  • There are several impacting factors on this e.g. duration of insult, repeat injury.
  • We should be aware that a ‘normal’ creatinine after an ITU stay doesn’t necessarily mean normal function – often significant muscle wasting through their illness.
  • The impact of CKD on morbidity and mortality is significant, we need to be aware of it as a risk following ITU and think about follow up – could this be in the ITU clinic or GP?

References/Further reading

  1. NEJM – Acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease as interconnected syndromes – 2014-
  2. Nature – AKI; what’s the prognosis? –