Purpose of review: Acute kidney injury is an increasingly common and potentially catastrophic complication in hospitalized patients. This review summarizes the major epidemiologic studies that have informed our understanding of the incidence and prognostic significance of acute kidney injury.
Recent findings: Early observational studies from the 1980s and 1990s established the general epidemiologic features of acute kidney injury, including the incidence, prognostic significance and predisposing medical and surgical conditions. Recent multicenter observational cohorts and administrative databases have enhanced our understanding of the overall disease burden of acute kidney injury and trends in its epidemiology. An increasing number of clinical studies focusing on specific types of acute kidney injury (e.g. following exposure to intravenous contrast, sepsis and major surgery) have provided further details into this heterogeneous syndrome.
Summary: In light of the increasing incidence and prognostic significance of acute kidney injury, new strategies for prevention and treatment are desperately needed.