Objective: To determine the epidemiological trends, spectrum of etiologies, morbidity and mortality of acute renal failure (ARF) in patients over 80 years old.
Design: Historical cohort analysis.
Setting: Intensive care unit (ICU) of nephrology, Tenon Hospital, Paris.
Patients and participants: The criteria of inclusion was ARF, defined on the basis of a creatinine value over 120 mumol/l, in patients over 80 years of age admitted between October 1971 and September 1996. When moderate chronic nephropathy was pre-existing, ARF was defined by the increase of at least 50% over the basal creatininemia.
Measurements and results: Three hundred and eighty-one patients over 80 years of age were included. The etiology and mechanism of ARF are detailed. 29% of the patients received dialysis. Global mortality at the hospital was 40%. Factors significantly associated with a poor prognosis are identified. Mean survival after hospitalization was 19 months.
Conclusion: The frequency of admission to ICUs for ARF in patients older than 80 years seems to be on the increase. Mortality is less severe than expected. These patients could benefit from the renal replacement therapy of modern intensive care medicine.