Long-term kidney function recovery and mortality after COVID-19-associated acute kidney injury: An international multi-centre observational cohort study

EClinicalMedicine. 2022 Nov 7:55:101724. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101724. eCollection 2023 Jan.


Background: While acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common complication in COVID-19, data on post-AKI kidney function recovery and the clinical factors associated with poor kidney function recovery is lacking.

Methods: A retrospective multi-centre observational cohort study comprising 12,891 hospitalized patients aged 18 years or older with a diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by polymerase chain reaction from 1 January 2020 to 10 September 2020, and with at least one serum creatinine value 1-365 days prior to admission. Mortality and serum creatinine values were obtained up to 10 September 2021.

Findings: Advanced age (HR 2.77, 95%CI 2.53-3.04, p < 0.0001), severe COVID-19 (HR 2.91, 95%CI 2.03-4.17, p < 0.0001), severe AKI (KDIGO stage 3: HR 4.22, 95%CI 3.55-5.00, p < 0.0001), and ischemic heart disease (HR 1.26, 95%CI 1.14-1.39, p < 0.0001) were associated with worse mortality outcomes. AKI severity (KDIGO stage 3: HR 0.41, 95%CI 0.37-0.46, p < 0.0001) was associated with worse kidney function recovery, whereas remdesivir use (HR 1.34, 95%CI 1.17-1.54, p < 0.0001) was associated with better kidney function recovery. In a subset of patients without chronic kidney disease, advanced age (HR 1.38, 95%CI 1.20-1.58, p < 0.0001), male sex (HR 1.67, 95%CI 1.45-1.93, p < 0.0001), severe AKI (KDIGO stage 3: HR 11.68, 95%CI 9.80-13.91, p < 0.0001), and hypertension (HR 1.22, 95%CI 1.10-1.36, p = 0.0002) were associated with post-AKI kidney function impairment. Furthermore, patients with COVID-19-associated AKI had significant and persistent elevations of baseline serum creatinine 125% or more at 180 days (RR 1.49, 95%CI 1.32-1.67) and 365 days (RR 1.54, 95%CI 1.21-1.96) compared to COVID-19 patients with no AKI.

Interpretation: COVID-19-associated AKI was associated with higher mortality, and severe COVID-19-associated AKI was associated with worse long-term post-AKI kidney function recovery.

Funding: Authors are supported by various funders, with full details stated in the acknowledgement section.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury; COVID-19; Chronic kidney disease; Electronic health records; SARS-CoV-2.