Nephrology referral and outcomes in critically ill acute kidney injury patients

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 2;8(8):e70482. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070482. Print 2013.


Background: Delayed nephrology consultation (NC) seems to be associated with worse prognosis in critically ill acute kidney injury (AKI) patients.

Design setting participants & measurements: The aims of this study were to analyze factors related with timing of NC and its relation with AKI patients' outcome in intensive care units of a tertiary hospital. AKI was defined as an increase ≥50% in baseline serum creatinine (SCr). Early NC and delayed NC were defined as NC performed before and two days after AKI diagnosis day. Multivariable logistic regression and propensity scores (PS) were used to adjust for confounding and selection biases. Hospital mortality and dialysis dependence on hospital discharge were the primary outcomes.

Results: A total of 366 AKI patients were analyzed and NCs were carried out in 53.6% of the patients. Hospital mortality was 67.8% and dialysis required in 31.4% patients (115/366). Delayed NCs (34%) occurred two days after AKI diagnosis day. This group presented higher mortality (OR: 4.04/CI: 1.60-10.17) and increased dialysis dependence (OR: 3.00/CI: 1.43-6.29) on hospital discharge. Four variables were retained in the PS model for delayed NC: diuresis (1000 ml/24 h--OR: 1.92/CI: 1.27-2.90), SCr (OR: 0.49/CI: 0.32-0.75), surgical AKI (OR: 3.67/CI: 1.65-8.15), and mechanical ventilation (OR: 2.82/CI: 1.06-7.44). After correction by PS, delayed NC was still associated with higher mortality (OR: 3.39/CI: 1.24-9.29) and increased dialysis dependence (OR: 3.25/CI: 1.41-7.51). Delayed NC was associated with increased mortality either in dialyzed patients (OR: 1.54/CI: 1.35-1.78) or non-dialyzed patients (OR: 2.89/CI: 1.00-8.35).

Conclusion: Delayed NC was associated with higher mortality and increased dialysis dependence rates in critically ill AKI patients at hospital discharge. Further studies are necessary to ascertain whether this effect is due to delayed nephrology intervention or residual confounding factors.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / mortality*
  • Critical Illness / mortality*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospital Mortality / trends*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrology*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Renal Dialysis / mortality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Time Factors

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.