Background: Low values of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) predispose to acute kidney injury, and proteinuria is a marker of kidney disease. We aimed to investigate how eGFR and proteinuria jointly modified the risks of acute kidney injury and subsequent adverse clinical outcomes.
Methods: We did a cohort study of 920,985 adults residing in Alberta, Canada, between 2002 and 2007. Participants not needing chronic dialysis at baseline and with at least one outpatient measurement of both serum creatinine concentration and proteinuria (urine dipstick or albumin-creatinine ratio) were included. We assessed hospital admission with acute kidney injury with validated administrative codes; other outcomes were all-cause mortality and a composite renal outcome of end-stage renal disease or doubling of serum creatinine concentration.
Findings: During median follow-up of 35 months (range 0-59 months), 6520 (0·7%) participants were admitted with acute kidney injury. In those with eGFR 60 mL/min per 1·73 m(2) or greater, the adjusted risk of admission with this disorder was about 4 times higher in those with heavy proteinuria measured by dipstick (rate ratio 4·4 vs no proteinuria, 95% CI 3·7-5·2). The adjusted rates of admission with acute kidney injury and kidney injury needing dialysis remained high in participants with heavy dipstick proteinuria for all values of eGFR. The adjusted rates of death and the composite renal outcome were also high in participants admitted with acute kidney injury, although the rise associated with this injury was attenuated in those with low baseline eGFR and heavy proteinuria.
Interpretation: These findings suggest that information on proteinuria and eGFR should be used together when identifying people at risk of acute kidney injury, and that an episode of acute kidney injury provides further long-term prognostic information in addition to eGFR and proteinuria.
Funding: The study was funded by an interdisciplinary team grant from Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.
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