Differential diagnosis of acute kidney injury in critically ill patients: the nephrologist’s role in identifying the different causes of parenchymal damage

Abstract

The management of acute kidney injury in the critical area is complex and necessarily multidisciplinary, but the nephrologist should maintain a pivotal role, both in terms of diagnosis and of indication, prescription and management of extracorporeal replacement therapy.

The most frequent causes of AKI in the critically ill patients are correlated to sepsis and major surgery, but the incidence of different causes, of strict nephrological relevance, is probably higher than the estimate.

Nephrologists have the competence to evaluate data relating to renal functions, urinary electrolytes, urinary sediment, and to identify which specific examinations can be useful to define the cause of AKI. A nephrological consultation will therefore improve the clinical management of AKI by guiding and integrating the diagnostic path with traditional or more advanced assessments, useful for the identification of the different causes of acute kidney damage and consequently of the most appropriate therapy.

The etiological diagnosis of AKI will also be crucial in defining the renal prognosis and therefore an appropriate nephrological follow up.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury, differential diagnosis, critical care nephrology

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.

Nephrologist and ICU: the need of new expertise

Abstract

Episodes of dialytic Acute Kidney Injury (AKI stage III KDIGO) can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD), even after a long time. Prelimary data indicate that the relationship between AKI and CKD is affected by dialysis technical modalities and factors in part modifiable, such as an early dialysis timing, dose adeguacy, continuous treatment, use of biocompatible membranes and regional citrate anticoagulation. However, in most ICUs involvement of nephrologist consultant is marginal. Of more, nephrological follow-up after discharge, which allows to slow down the progression rate of CKD even just by a correct pharmacological and dietetic approach (sartans, ACEis), is an uncommon practice. Indeed, a better organ survival could lead to a delay of the dialytic treatment, reducing the costs sustained by the National Health Service.  To face such challenges locally, in Piedmont and Aosta Valley the Dialysis Units were required to put themselves at disposal for ICU needs both in terms of dedicated staff and resources. Additionally, since many years consultant nephrologists have established the “Acuti” work-group, which has been able to provide an high level of professional expertise, while incentivizing innovation and training in ICU environment. In order to cope with these new requirements a redefinition of the nephrologist’s role in ICU through a constant exchange with the intensive care background is needed.

Key words: Acute kidney injury., Critical Care nephrology, Organization, Work group

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.