Research-based versus clinical serum creatinine measurements and the association of acute kidney injury with subsequent kidney function: findings from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort study

Clin Kidney J. 2019 May 20;13(1):55-62. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfz057. eCollection 2020 Feb.


Background: Observational studies relying on clinically obtained data have shown that acute kidney injury (AKI) is linked to accelerated chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression. However, prior reports lacked uniform collection of important confounders such as proteinuria and pre-AKI kidney function trajectory, and may be susceptible to ascertainment bias, as patients may be more likely to undergo kidney function testing after AKI.

Methods: We studied 444 adults with CKD who participated in the prospective Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study and were concurrent members of a large integrated healthcare delivery system. We estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) trajectories using serum creatinine measurements from (i) the CRIC research protocol (yearly) and (ii) routine clinical care. We used linear mixed effects models to evaluate the associations of AKI with acute absolute change in eGFR and post-AKI eGFR slope, and explored whether these varied by source of creatinine results. Models were adjusted for demographic characteristics, diabetes status and albuminuria.

Results: During median follow-up of 8.5 years, mean rate of eGFR loss was -0.31 mL/min/1.73 m2/year overall, and 73 individuals experienced AKI (55% Stage 1). A significant interaction existed between AKI and source of serum creatinine for acute absolute change in eGFR level after discharge; in contrast, AKI was independently associated with a faster rate of eGFR decline (mean additional loss of -0.67 mL/min/1.73 m2/year), which was not impacted by source of serum creatinine.

Conclusions: AKI is independently associated with subsequent steeper eGFR decline regardless of the serum creatinine source used, but the strength of association is smaller than observed in prior studies after taking into account key confounders such as pre-AKI eGFR slope and albuminuria.

Keywords: acute kidney injury; chronic kidney disease; epidemiology; risk factor.