Mortality and host response aberrations associated with transient and persistent acute kidney injury in critically ill patients with sepsis: a prospective cohort study

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Purpose: Sepsis is the most frequent cause of acute kidney injury (AKI). The “Acute Disease Quality Initiative Workgroup” recently proposed new definitions for AKI, classifying it as transient or persistent. We investigated the incidence, mortality, and host response aberrations associated with transient and persistent AKI in sepsis patients. Methods: A total of 1545 patients admitted with sepsis to 2 intensive care units in the Netherlands were stratified according to the presence (defined by any urine or creatinine RIFLE criterion within the first 48 h) and evolution of AKI (with persistent defined as remaining > 48 h). We determined 30-day mortality by logistic regression adjusting for confounding variables and analyzed 16 plasma biomarkers reflecting pathways involved in sepsis pathogenesis (n = 866) and blood leukocyte transcriptomes (n = 392). Results: AKI occurred in 37.7% of patients, of which 18.4% was transient and 81.6% persistent. On admission, patients with persistent AKI had higher disease severity scores and more frequently had severe (injury or failure) RIFLE AKI stages than transient AKI patients. Persistent AKI, but not transient AKI, was associated with increased mortality by day 30 and up to 1 year. Persistent AKI was associated with enhanced and sustained inflammatory and procoagulant responses during the first 4 days, and a more severe loss of vascular integrity compared with transient AKI. Baseline blood gene expression showed minimal differences with respect to the presence or evolution of AKI. Conclusion: Persistent AKI is independently associated with sepsis mortality, as well as with sustained inflammatory and procoagulant responses, and loss of vascular integrity as compared with transient AKI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1576-1589
Number of pages14
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Host response
  • Intensive care unit
  • Mortality
  • Sepsis

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