Background: Critically ill children and neonates are at high risk of developing acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI is associated with short- and long-term renal impairment and increased mortality. Current methods of diagnosing AKI rely on measurements of serum creatinine, which is a late and insensitive marker. Few studies to date have assessed AKI biomarkers in a heterogeneous patient cohort.
Methods: We conducted a prospective feasibility study in a paediatric intensive care setting over a 6-month period to describe the relationship between AKI (defined according to pRIFLE criteria) and new AKI biomarkers.
Results: In total, 49 patients between the ages of 16 days and 15 years were recruited for measurement of plasma cystatin C (Cys-C) and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (pNGAL) concentrations, as well as for urinary kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) and urinary NGAL (uNGAL) concentrations. Almost one-half (49 %) of the patient cohort experienced an AKI episode, and Cys-C and pNGAL were the strongest candidates for the detection of AKI. Our data suggest that the widely used estimated baseline creatinine clearance value of 120 mL/min/1.73 m(2) underestimates actual baseline function in patients admitted to paediatric intensive care units.
Conclusions: This investigation demonstrates the feasibility of new AKI biomarker testing in a mixed patient cohort and provides novel biomarker profiling for further evaluation.