28 November 2014
Background: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is common in hospitalised patients and is associated with adverse long-term consequences. There is an urgent need to understand these sequelae in general hospitalised patients utilising a prospective cohort-based approach. We aimed to test the feasibility of study methodology prior to commencing a large-scale study and investigate the effects of AKI on chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression and proteinuria. Methods: Pilot study testing novel methodology for remote patient recruitment within a prospective case-control design. 300 cases (hospitalised patients with AKI) and controls (hospitalised patients without AKI) were matched 1:1 for age and baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). 70% of cases had AKI stage 1, 16% AKI stage 2 and 14% AKI stage 3. Renal function and proteinuria were measured 3 and 12 months after hospital admission. Results: The study met pre-defined recruitment, withdrawal and matching criteria. Renal function was worse in the AKI group at 3 (eGFR 61 ± 20 vs. 74 ± 23 ml/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup>, p < 0.001) and 12 months (eGFR 64 ± 23 vs. 75 ± 25 ml/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup>, p < 0.001). More cases than controls had CKD progression at 3 months (14 vs. 0.7%, p < 0.001). This difference persisted to 12 months, but there was no significant change between 3 and 12 months. Proteinuria and albuminuria were more prevalent in the AKI group and associated with CKD progression. Conclusions: We describe a method of remote patient recruitment which could be employed more widely for prospective observational studies. Even mild AKI is associated with long-term renal dysfunction. Further investigation using this methodology is now underway.