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More intensive dialysis does not improve outcomes among patients with acute kidney injury
Date:5/22/2008

No significant difference in death rates or other outcomes was found between a group of patients with acute kidney injury that received intensive dialysis and another group that received a more standard regimen of dialysis, according to a joint Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) study published in the June issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Acute kidney injury, also called acute renal failure, is a common complication in hospitalized patients that is associated with very high mortality rates. In-hospital mortality rates of critically-ill patients typically range from 50 percent to 80 percent.

Several prior single-center studies in patients with acute kidney injury had suggested improved survival with more intensive dialysis, which is significantly more costly to administer. "We now have definitive evidence that intensive treatment of acute kidney injury is no more beneficial in improving treatment outcomes than the usual level of care," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "As a result, the findings of this well-designed study may help prevent unnecessary medical expenditures."

Within 60 days after starting dialysis, 302 patients (53.6 percent) in the intensive treatment group died compared to 289 patients (51.5 percent) in the less-intensive treatment group. Also, the study reports no significant differences between the two groups in recovery of kidney function, the rate of failure of organs other than kidneys, or the number of patients able to return to their prior living situations.

No medications have been found to be effective in treating acute kidney injury, so doctors use hemodialysis and other forms of renal-replacement therapy to support patients whose kidneys do not function properly. Hemodialysis uses a machine to clean waste and extra fluid from the blood when the kidneys cant do the job.

In this study, doctors provided renal-replacement therapy to both
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Contact: Arthur Stone
niddkmedia@mail.nih.gov
301-496-3583
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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