Nutritional aspects in acute kidney injury

Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). Sep-Oct 2011;57(5):600-6. doi: 10.1590/s0104-42302011000500022.
[Article in En, Portuguese]


Nutritional assessment is an indispensable tool for the evaluation and clinical monitoring of patients with acute kidney injury (AKI). Acute loss of renal function interferes with the metabolism of all macronutrients, responsible for proinflammatory, pro-oxidative and hypercatabolic situations. The major nutritional disorders in AKI patients are hypercatabolism, hyperglycemia, and hypertriglyceridemia. Those added to the contributions of the underlying disease, complications, and the need for renal replacement therapy can interfere in the nutritional depletion of those patients. Malnutrition in AKI patients is associated with increased incidence of complications, longer hospitalization, and higher hospital mortality. However, there are few studies evaluating the nutritional status of AKI patients. Anthropometric parameters, such as body mass index, arm circumference, and thickness of skin folds, are difficult to interpret due to changes in hydration status in those patients. Biochemical parameters commonly used in clinical practice are also influenced by non-nutritional factors like loss of liver function and inflammatory status. Although there are no prospective data about the behavior of nutritional markers, some authors demonstrated associations of some parameters with clinical outcomes. The use of markers like albumin, cholesterol, prealbumin, IGF-1, subjective global assessment, and calculation of the nitrogen balance seem to be useful as screening parameters for worse prognosis and higher mortality in AKI patients. In patients with AKI on renal replacement therapy, a caloric intake of 25 to 30 kcal/kg and a minimum amount of 1.5 g/kg/day of protein is recommended to minimize protein catabolism and prevent metabolic complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutritional Status*