Long-term outcome after acute renal replacement therapy: a narrative review

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2012 Feb;56(2):138-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2011.02567.x. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Background: Acute kidney injury (AKI) necessitating renal replacement therapy (RRT) is associated with high short-term mortality, relatively little however is known of the long-term outcome in these patients. This narrative review describes renal recovery, long-term mortality, and quality of life in RRT patients with acute kidney injury.

Methods: A literature search using the PubMed search engine from the year 2000 to present with the MeSH terms 1) acute kidney injury, renal replacement therapy, prognosis, and 2) acute kidney injury, quality of life, prognosis, was performed, including studies addressing long-term outcome (over 60 days) in adults with AKI on RRT.

Results: According to inclusion criteria, twenty two studies were eligible. Outcome varied depending on AKI aetiology, setting, co-morbidity and pre-morbid renal function. Five-year-survival was between 15% and 35%, with dialysis dependence in less than 10% of survivors. Renal recovery, even if incomplete occurred during the first year. Quality of life assessment amongst survivors indicated moderate physical impairment and reduced mental health scores. A majority of patients returned to employment and self-sustainability and reported acceptable to good quality of life. Over 90% of patients indicated that they would undergo the same treatment again.

Discussion and conclusions: Early initiation of treatment and fine-tuning of the RRT technique may improve outcome. Consensus regarding AKI definitions, renal function measurement and standardised follow-up regimens are required. Further long-term studies are needed.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / psychology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Long-Term Care
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function
  • Renal Replacement Therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome