Harmonizing acute and chronic kidney disease definition and classification: report of a Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Consensus Conference

Kidney Int. 2021 Sep;100(3):516-526. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2021.06.028. Epub 2021 Jul 9.


Kidney disease is an important public health problem. Both acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease have been well defined and classified, leading to improved research efforts and subsequent management strategies and recommendations. For those patients with abnormalities in kidney function and/or structure who meet neither the definition of AKI nor chronic kidney disease, there remains a gap in research, care, and guidance. The term acute kidney diseases and disorders, abbreviated to acute kidney disease (AKD), has been introduced as an important construct to address this. To expand and harmonize existing definitions and to ultimately better inform research and clinical care, Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) organized a consensus workshop. Multiple invitees from around the globe, representing both acute and chronic kidney disease researchers and experts, met virtually to examine existing data, and discuss key concepts related to AKD. Despite some remaining unresolved questions, conference attendees reached general consensus on the definition and classification of AKD, management strategies, and research priorities. AKD is defined by abnormalities of kidney function and/or structure with implications for health and with a duration of ≤3 months. AKD may include AKI, but, more importantly, also includes abnormalities in kidney function that are not as severe as AKI or that develop over a period of >7 days. The cause(s) of AKD should be sought, and classification includes functional and structural parameters. Management of AKD is currently based on empirical considerations. A robust research agenda to enable refinement and validation of definitions and classification systems, and thus testing of interventions and strategies, is proposed.

Keywords: acute kidney disease; acute kidney injury; chronic kidney disease; classification; evaluation; management; staging.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / diagnosis
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / epidemiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / therapy
  • Consensus
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / epidemiology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / therapy