Aims: To evaluate the influence of sepsis in critically ill patients with acute renal failure (ARF), and to analyze the value of the sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score for assessing the morbidity and related mortality of these patients.
Material and methods: A prospective observational study developed in a medical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care university hospital. Data were collected from January 1, 2001 - July 31, 2002. The inclusion criterion was either a creatinine plasma level > or = 2 mg/dl on ICU admission or increases > or = 30% from its initial value. Sepsis was evaluated at the time of study inclusion, and patients were distributed into 2 groups (septic and nonseptic patients).
Results: Two hundred patients with ARF were prospectively enrolled in the study (91 (45.5%) septic and 109 (54.5%) nonseptic patients). Median age was 68 years in septic patients and 72 in nonseptic ones while the percentage of males in both groups was 66% vs 69%, respectively. Septic patients showed more organ failures and more respiratory, cardiovascular and coagulation failures at the time of study admission as well as a worse mean SOFA score during the first 4 days after inclusion (p < 0.01). Mortality rate at the ICU was significantly higher in the septic group when compared to the nonseptic one (55% vs 19.3%, OR = 2.21 (1.65 - 2.97)). Using stepwise logistic regression, acute tubular necrosis and oliguria in septic patients as well as cardiovascular failure (evaluated by SOFA score) in nonseptic patients were identified as independent risk factors for mortality.
Conclusions: Septic and nonseptic ICU patients with ARF have an increased risk of ICU mortality depending on the type of organ failure. Although SOFA score does not predict outcome, it is a useful tool to categorize these patients and to describe a sequence of complications in critically ill patients.