Updates in Management and Timing of Dialysis in Acute Kidney Injury
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common complication in hospitalized patients and is associated with mortality, prolonged hospital length of stay, and increased healthcare costs. This paper reviews several areas of controversy in the identification and management of AKI. Serum creatinine and urine output are used to identify and stage AKI by severity. Although standardized definitions of AKI are used in research settings, these definitions do not account for individual patient factors or clinical context which are necessary components in the assessment of AKI. After treatment of reversible causes of AKI, patients with AKI should receive adequate volume resuscitation with crystalloid solutions. Balanced crystalloid solutions generally prevent severe hyperchloremia and could potentially reduce the risk of AKI, but additional studies are needed to demonstrate a clinical benefit. Intravenous albumin may be beneficial in patients with chronic liver disease either to prevent or attenuate the severity of AKI; otherwise, the use of albumin or other colloids (eg, hydroxyethyl starch) is not recommended. Diuretics should be used to treat volume overload, but they do not facilitate AKI recovery or reduce mortality. Nutrition consultation may be helpful to ensure that patients receive adequate, but not excessive, dietary protein intake, as the latter can lead to azotemia and electrolyte disturbances disproportionate to the patient’s kidney failure. The optimal timing of dialysis initiation in AKI remains controversial, with conflicting results from two randomized controlled trials.