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More Dialysis Not Better in Acute Kidney Injury
Date:5/20/2008

Intensive therapy did not improve recovery or survival, researchers say.

TUESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive kidney dialysis for patients with acute kidney injury does not reduce death, improve kidney function, or reduce the rate of organ failure, a new study finds.

Acute kidney injury is a complication often seen in critically ill patients. Approximately 2 percent to 7 percent of hospitalized patients, and 35 percent of critically ill patients, will suffer from acute kidney injury. For patients with acute kidney injury, the death rate is approximately 50 percent to 80 percent.

"In acute kidney injury, there is no specific treatment to reverse kidney function," said lead researcher Dr. Paul M. Palevsky, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. "The treatment is predominantly supportive."

The common teaching has been that in people who survived the illness, most will recover kidney function, Palevsky said. Previous studies have suggested that more dialysis improved outcomes. "So, we did the study to see if that was the case," Palevsky explained.

"Increasing the dose of dialysis beyond what is considered normal did not improve outcomes," Palevsky said. "There was no improvement in survival, no improvement in recovery of renal function, and no improvement in the course of non-renal organ failure. So, more was not better."

The report was released early, in the May 20 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, to coincide with a presentation at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference, in Toronto.

In the study, Palevsky's team randomly assigned 1,124 patients with acute kidney injury to receive intensive or less intensive dialysis.

Patients who received intensive renal therapy had dialysis six times a week, while patients who received less intensive renal therapy, underwent dialysis three times a week.

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