Acute Kidney Injury
In recent years the nephrology community has been joined by other medical colleagues in recognising the urgent need to increase awareness about Acute Kidney Injury amongst physicians and hospital staff, but also the need for a public awareness campaign which could demystify this dangerous condition and make it recognisable to the public in a similar way that heart-attack or stroke campaigns have done.
In the developed world AKI is often seen in hospital settings: US data suggests that an estimated 5% to 20% of critically ill patients (patients in the intensive care unit) experience an episode of AKI during the course of their illness, and development of AKI has a major negative impact on outcomes of any illness. To this end, greater awareness of AKI amongst the general physician and health care profession is needed. There are also important opportunities for prevention, especially by careful attention to prescription medicines management in elderly people.
AKI is inadequately addressed in clinical education and training programmes, and largely neglected in public awareness and research programmes. The consequences are missed opportunities to mitigate risk, delayed diagnosis, poor management and increased lengths of hospital stay that contribute to spiralling health care costs.
AKI is particularly relevant in the developing world where children and young adults are at special risk for AKI because it occurs frequently as the result of gastroenteritis, poisonings, malaria or other infectious diseases. Victims of crush injuries in natural disasters such as earthquakes often die of AKI. Many cases of AKI can be prevented simply by educating the community, and local and regional health care practitioners about prevention and early warning signs requiring immediate intervention.
Adapted from World Kidney Day 2013, "Acute Kidney Injury" [online] available at : www.worldkidneyday.org