Acute kidney injury from sepsis: current concepts, epidemiology, pathophysiology, prevention and treatment

Kidney Int. 2019 Nov;96(5):1083-1099. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2019.05.026. Epub 2019 Jun 7.


Sepsis-associated acute kidney injury (S-AKI) is a frequent complication of the critically ill patient and is associated with unacceptable morbidity and mortality. Prevention of S-AKI is difficult because by the time patients seek medical attention, most have already developed acute kidney injury. Thus, early recognition is crucial to provide supportive treatment and limit further insults. Current diagnostic criteria for acute kidney injury has limited early detection; however, novel biomarkers of kidney stress and damage have been recently validated for risk prediction and early diagnosis of acute kidney injury in the setting of sepsis. Recent evidence shows that microvascular dysfunction, inflammation, and metabolic reprogramming are 3 fundamental mechanisms that may play a role in the development of S-AKI. However, more mechanistic studies are needed to better understand the convoluted pathophysiology of S-AKI and to translate these findings into potential treatment strategies and add to the promising pharmacologic approaches being developed and tested in clinical trials.

Keywords: epidemiology; inflammation; metabolic reprogramming; microvascular dysfunction; prevention; sepsis-associated acute kidney injury; sepsis-induced acute kidney injury; treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / epidemiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Renal Replacement Therapy
  • Sepsis / complications*


  • Biomarkers