Acute kidney injury in the tropics

Ann Saudi Med. Sep-Oct 2011;31(5):451-6. doi: 10.4103/0256-4947.84620.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is one of the most challenging problems faced by clinicians in the tropics owing to its fast-changing burden. AKI in the tropics is strikingly different from that in the developed world in terms of etiology and presentation. In addition, there is a stark contrast between well-developed and poor areas in the tropics. The true epidemiological picture of AKI in the tropics is not well understood due to the late presentation of patients to tertiary centers. Infections remain the major culprit in most cases of AKI, with high mortality rates in the tropics. Human immunodeficiency virus-related AKI, related to nephrotoxicity due to antiretroviral therapy, is on the rise. Acute tubular necrosis and thrombotic microangiopathy are the most common mechanisms of AKI. A notable problem in the tropics is the scarcity of resources in health centers to support patients who require critical care due to AKI. This article reviews the unique and contrasting nature of AKI in the tropics and describes its management in each situation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / physiopathology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Developing Countries
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubular Necrosis, Acute / complications*
  • Thrombotic Microangiopathies / complications*
  • Tropical Climate


  • Anti-HIV Agents