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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 221-226

Impact of early nephrology referral on the outcomes of patients with acute kidney injury

1 Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nephrology Unit, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Maha K Alghamdi
Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_576_21

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Background: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is associated with an increase in patient mortality and high rates of renal/non-renal complications. Late detection of the disease has been associated with worse prognosis, but no such study has been conducted from Saudi Arabia. Objectives: To assess the impact of early nephrology referral on the outcomes of patients with AKI. Methods: This retrospective record review included all adult patients (≥18 years) with AKI who were referred to the Nephrology Department at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, between May 2019 and July 2020. AKI was defined according to the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes criteria. AKI patients evaluated by nephrologists were stratified into early referral group (i.e., referral in <48 h from the first detection of AKI) and late referral group (referral ≥48 h after the first detection of AKI). Results: A total of 400 patients met the inclusion criteria, of which 264 (66%) were early referrals. A significant association was found between delayed referral and mortality rates and length of hospital stay (for both, P = 0.001). Late referral was also significantly associated with increased likeliness of the need for renal replacement therapy (P = 0.037) and sepsis (P = 0.005). Conclusions: The outcomes were worse for patients with AKI receiving late referrals to nephrologists. Raising the awareness of AKI among non-nephrologists would likely increase the proportion of earlier referrals.

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