Recovery after critical illness and acute kidney injury

Anitha Vijayan, Emaad M. Abdel-Rahman, Kathleen D. Liu, Stuart L. Goldstein, Anupam Agarwal, Mark D. Okusa, Jorge Cerda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


AKI is a common complication in hospitalized and critically ill patients. Its incidence has steadily increased over the past decade.Whether transient or prolonged, AKI is an independent risk factor associated with poor shortand long-term outcomes, even if patients do not require KRT.Most patients with early AKI improve with conservative management; however, some will require dialysis for a few days, a few weeks, or even months. Approximately 10%–30% of AKI survivors may still need dialysis after hospital discharge. These patients have a higher associated risk of death, rehospitalization, recurrent AKI, and CKD, and a lower quality of life. Survivors of critical illness may also suffer from cognitive dysfunction, muscle weakness, prolonged ventilator dependence, malnutrition, infections, chronic pain, and poor wound healing. Collaboration and communication among nephrologists, primary care physicians, rehabilitation providers, physical therapists, nutritionists, nurses, pharmacists, and other members of the health care team are essential to create a holistic and patient-centric care plan for overall recovery. Integration of the patient and family members in health care decisions, and ongoing education throughout the process, are vital to improve patient well-being. From the nephrologist standpoint, assessing and promoting recovery of kidney function, and providing appropriate short- and long-term follow-up, are crucial to prevent rehospitalizations and to reduce complications. Return to baseline functional status is the ultimate goal for most patients, and dialysis independence is an important part of that goal. In this review, we seek to highlight the varying aspects and stages of recovery from AKI complicating critical illness, and propose viable strategies to promote recovery of kidney function and dialysis independence.We also emphasize the need for ongoing research and multidisciplinary collaboration to improve outcomes in this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1609
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


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