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Acute kidney injury may up risk of heart problems later

Patients who recovered from AKI had a 67 per cent increased risk of experiencing coronary events or dying.

AKI's harmful effects on heart health were comparable to those attributed to diabetes. (Thinkstock) AKI’s harmful effects on heart health were comparable to those attributed to diabetes. (Thinkstock)

Patients who experience abrupt kidney injury following surgery have an increased risk of developing heart problems later, a new study has warned. Acute kidney injury (AKI), a sudden decline in kidney function, is an increasingly prevalent and potentially serious condition in hospitalised patients, researchers said. Sometimes acute kidney injury arises after major surgery because the kidneys can be deprived of normal blood flow during the procedure.

To investigate the links between AKI and later heart problems, Vin-Cent Wu from National Taiwan University Hospital and his colleagues analysed information from hospitalised patients who recovered from AKI that required dialysis. Data were collected from inpatient claims of the Taiwan National Health Insurance from 1999 to 2008. Among the 17,106 acute dialysis patients who were discharged, 4,869 recovered from dialysis-requiring AKI and were matched with 4,869 patients without AKI. Patients who recovered from AKI had a 67 per cent increased risk of experiencing coronary events or dying during the study period, regardless of whether or not they developed chronic kidney disease, researchers said.

AKI’s harmful effects on heart health were comparable to those attributed to diabetes. “These findings indicate that dialysis-requiring AKI with subsequent recovery should be deemed as a risk category for cardiovascular disease, and they shed light on the importance of adequate care for affected patients,” said Wu. The study will appear in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

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