Acute kidney injury (formerly known as acute renal failure) is a syndrome characterised by the rapid loss of the kidney's excretory function and is typically diagnosed by the accumulation of end products of nitrogen metabolism (urea and creatinine) or decreased urine output, or both. It is the clinical manifestation of several disorders that affect the kidney acutely. Acute kidney injury is common in hospital patients and very common in critically ill patients. In these patients, it is most often secondary to extrarenal events. How such events cause acute kidney injury is controversial. No specific therapies have emerged that can attenuate acute kidney injury or expedite recovery; thus, treatment is supportive. New diagnostic techniques (eg, renal biomarkers) might help with early diagnosis. Patients are given renal replacement therapy if acute kidney injury is severe and biochemical or volume-related, or if uraemic-toxaemia-related complications are of concern. If patients survive their illness and do not have premorbid chronic kidney disease, they typically recover to dialysis independence. However, evidence suggests that patients who have had acute kidney injury are at increased risk of subsequent chronic kidney disease.
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