Community-acquired acute renal failure

Am J Kidney Dis. 1991 Feb;17(2):191-8. doi: 10.1016/s0272-6386(12)81128-0.


Acute renal failure usually occurs during hospitalization, but may also be present on admission to the hospital. To define the causes and outcomes of community-acquired acute renal failure, we undertook a prospective study of patients admitted to the hospital with acute elevations in serum creatinine concentrations. Over a 17-month period, all admission serum creatinine determinations were screened for patients with values greater than 177 mumol/L (2 mg/dL). These values were compared with baseline creatinines to select patients with an acute elevation in serum creatinine occurring outside the hospital. One hundred patients were entered into the study, with an overall incidence of 1% of hospital admissions. Seventy percent of the patients had prerenal azotemia, 11% had intrinsic acute renal failure, 17% had obstruction, and 2% could not be classified. Mean peak serum creatinine (318 +/- 18 mumol/L [3.6 +/- 0.2 mg/dL]) and mortality (7%) was lowest in the group with prerenal azotemia. In this group, volume contraction due to vomiting, decreased fluid intake, diarrhea, fever, glucosuria, or diuretics was the most common underlying cause. The group with intrinsic acute renal failure had the most severe renal failure and the highest mortality (55%). Although ischemic acute tubular necrosis is the most common cause of hospital-acquired intrinsic acute renal failure, this etiology was seen in only one patient. Drug-induced nephrotoxicity and infection-related causes were the most common underlying etiologies of intrinsic acute renal failure. Obstructive renal failure had a mortality of 24% and was most commonly due to benign prostatic hypertrophy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / blood
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy
  • Aged
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Creatinine