Impact of real-time electronic alerting of acute kidney injury on therapeutic intervention and progression of RIFLE class

Crit Care Med. 2012 Apr;40(4):1164-70. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3182387a6b.


Objective: To evaluate whether a real-time electronic alert system or "AKI sniffer," which is based on the RIFLE classification criteria (Risk, Injury and Failure), would have an impact on therapeutic interventions and acute kidney injury progression.

Design: Prospective intervention study.

Setting: Surgical and medical intensive care unit in a tertiary care hospital.

Patients: A total of 951 patients having in total 1,079 admission episodes were admitted during the study period (prealert control group: 227, alert group: 616, and postalert control group: 236).

Interventions: Three study phases were compared: A 1.5-month prealert control phase in which physicians were blinded for the acute kidney injury sniffer and a 3-month intervention phase with real-time alerting of worsening RIFLE class through the Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology telephone system followed by a second 1.5-month postalert control phase.

Measurements and main results: A total of 2593 acute kidney injury alerts were recorded with a balanced distribution over all study phases. Most acute kidney injury alerts were RIFLE class risk (59.8%) followed by RIFLE class injury (34.1%) and failure (6.1%). A higher percentage of patients in the alert group received therapeutic intervention within 60 mins after the acute kidney injury alert (28.7% in alert group vs. 7.9% and 10.4% in the pre- and postalert control groups, respectively, p μ .001). In the alert group, more patients received fluid therapy (23.0% vs. 4.9% and 9.2%, p μ .01), diuretics (4.2% vs. 2.6% and 0.8%, p μ .001), or vasopressors (3.9% vs. 1.1% and 0.8%, p μ .001). Furthermore, these patients had a shorter time to intervention (p μ .001). A higher proportion of patients in the alert group showed return to a baseline kidney function within 8 hrs after an acute kidney injury alert "from normal to risk" compared with patients in the control group (p = .048).

Conclusions: The real-time alerting of every worsening RIFLE class by the acute kidney injury sniffer increased the number and timeliness of early therapeutic interventions. The borderline significant improvement of short-term renal outcome in the RIFLE class risk patients needs to be confirmed in a large multicenter trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Urodynamics


  • Creatinine