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Sudden Loss of Kidney Function May Up Risk of Death

Study finds higher death rate persists even in patients whose kidney function returns to normal

FRIDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a sudden loss of kidney function have a higher death rate after being discharged from the hospital even if their kidney function returned to normal, according to a study published online Dec. 17 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Jean-Phillipe Lafrance, M.D., and Donald R. Miller, from the Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research in Bedford, Mass., analyzed long-term outcomes in about 83,000 veterans with acute kidney injury (also known as acute renal failure) who did not need dialysis and survived at least three months after leaving the hospital.

During an average follow-up of two years, the researchers found that more patients with acute kidney injury died compared to patients without the condition (30 versus 16 percent), with a 40 percent higher mortality risk even after adjusting for possible confounding factors. The risk of death was even higher in patients with more severe disease, and the mortality risk remained high in patients whose kidney function returned to normal.

"Our study found that risk of death remains elevated long after the acute kidney injury," Lafrance commented in a press release. "Better understanding of the long-term outcomes after acute kidney injury may inform further studies and improve patient care after those events."

Miller reported receiving funds from Sanofi-Aventis.

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