Acute kidney injury in pediatrics: an overview focusing on pathophysiology

Pediatr Nephrol. 2022 Sep;37(9):2037-2052. doi: 10.1007/s00467-021-05346-8. Epub 2021 Nov 30.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is defined as an abrupt decline in glomerular filtration rate, with increased serum creatinine and nitrogenous waste products due to several possible etiologies. Incidence in the pediatric population is estimated to be 3.9 per 1,000 hospitalizations, and prevalence among children admitted to intensive care units is 26.9%. Despite being a condition with important incidence and morbimortality, further evidence on pathophysiology and management among the pediatric population is still lacking. This narrative review aimed to summarize and discuss current data on AKI pathophysiology in the pediatric population, considering all the physiological particularities of this age range and common etiologies. Additionally, we reported current diagnostic tools, novel biomarkers, and newly proposed medications that have been studied with the aim of early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of AKI in the future.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury; Epidemiology; Pathophysiology; Pediatrics; Perspectives.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury* / diagnosis
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / etiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / therapy
  • Biomarkers
  • Child
  • Creatinine
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pediatrics*


  • Biomarkers
  • Creatinine