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Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a topic covered in the Pocket ICU Management.

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First Things First (assess & treat for the following)

  • Definition: Acute decline in renal filtering function. Marked by decreased urine production, accumulation of normally cleared toxins or markers (e.g., K+, acids, and creatinine). Creatine (CRT) and BUN are serum markers of failed renal clearance; they take time to accumulate. Check CRT clearance.
  • A more accurate term for acute renal failure (ARF) is acute kidney injury, which suggests a spectrum of renal injury and dysfunction. The RIFLE Criteria (Risk, Injury, Failure, Loss, End stage) classify ARF based on elevations of creatinine, or duration of oligo- or anuria. Progressive dysfunction is associated with increased mortality.
  • In ARF urine output is usually oligo- or anuric (anuric suggests overwhelming damage to both kidneys both prerenal or intrinsic renal, or complete urinary obstruction), but it can rarely be polyuric (recovery phase ATN, interstitial nephritis, postobstructive renal failure). See “History and Physical” section.
  • Immediate management
    • Define severity of renal dysfunction and attempt to classify renal failure into Prerenal (PreR), intrinsic renal (IR), or obstructive/postrenal (PostR).
    • Strict input/output charting
    • Blood tests: basic metabolic profile (K, HCO3, CRT, BUN)
    • Collect urine sample for analysis, urine electrolyte panel before interventions (e.g., diuretics)
    • Identify & aggressively treat potentially reversible causes of RF. Place bladder catheter to rule out or relieve lower urinary tract obstruction and facilitate hourly urinary output checks.
    • Assess & correct volume status & electrolyte abnormalities. This is what kills. Check EKG if hyperkalemia. See “Specific Treatment” section.
    • Avoid further renal insult such as hypovolemia, hypotension, and nephrotoxins.

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Last updated: May 5, 2010


"Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)." Pocket ICU Management, PocketMedicine.com, Inc, 2010. Anesthesia Central, anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534169/all/Acute_Kidney_Injury__AKI_.
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). Pocket ICU Management. PocketMedicine.com, Inc; 2010. https://anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534169/all/Acute_Kidney_Injury__AKI_. Accessed April 21, 2019.
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). (2010). In Pocket ICU Management. Available from https://anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534169/all/Acute_Kidney_Injury__AKI_
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) [Internet]. In: Pocket ICU Management. PocketMedicine.com, Inc; 2010. [cited 2019 April 21]. Available from: https://anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534169/all/Acute_Kidney_Injury__AKI_.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) ID - 534169 Y1 - 2010/05/05/ BT - Pocket ICU Management UR - https://anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534169/all/Acute_Kidney_Injury__AKI_ PB - PocketMedicine.com, Inc DB - Anesthesia Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -