Acute kidney injury in elderly patients


In the last few years, more and more studies have been focusing on Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) because of its incidence, its effects on patients, and the costs associated to its treatment. Elderly patients are especially in danger of developing AKI given the para-physiological deterioration of their renal functions and the presence of several co-morbidities. Together with sepsis, AKI is in fact one of the most common complications occurring during hospitalization. However, some strategies have proved to help in preventing renal damage in the elderly.

Fluid overload, malnutrition and sepsis, which are far more common and momentous in older patients, can conceal or minimize rising creatinine levels. As such, it is not always possible to rely on the creatinine behaviour to diagnose AKI as proposed by KDIGO, AKIN e RIFLE guidelines. On the one hand, these and other peculiarities make AKI very difficult to diagnose and treat in elderly patients. On the other, the dialysis treatment, with its intrinsic “un-physiology”, further complicates matters and (if it is very aggressive in terms of efficiency and removal of fluids) can destabilize these fragile patients and their poor haemodynamic compensation.


Keywords: acute kidney injury, comorbidity, elderly patients, renal functional decline, dialysis

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