Acute kidney injury in children

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121 Scopus citations


Acute kidney injury (AKI) (previously called acute renal failure) is characterized by a reversible increase in the blood concentration of creatinine and nitrogenous waste products and by the inability of the kidney to regulate fluid and electrolyte homeostasis appropriately. The incidence of AKI in children appears to be increasing, and the etiology of AKI over the past decades has shifted from primary renal disease to multifactorial causes, particularly in hospitalized children. Genetic factors may predispose some children to AKI. Renal injury can be divided into pre-renal failure, intrinsic renal disease including vascular insults, and obstructive uropathies. The pathophysiology of hypoxia/ ischemia-induced AKI is not well understood, but significant progress in elucidating the cellular, biochemical and molecular events has been made over the past several years. The history, physical examination, and laboratory studies, including urinalysis and radiographic studies, can establish the likely cause(s) of AKI. Many interventions such as 'renal-dose dopamine' and diuretic therapy have been shown not to alter the course of AKI. The prognosis of AKI is highly dependent on the underlying etiology of the AKI. Children who have suffered AKI from any cause are at risk for late development of kidney disease several years after the initial insult. Therapeutic interventions in AKI have been largely disappointing, likely due to the complex nature of the pathophysiology of AKI, the fact that the serum creatinine concentration is an insensitive measure of kidney function, and because of co-morbid factors in treated patients. Improved understanding of the pathophysiology of AKI, early biomarkers of AKI, and better classification of AKI are needed for the development of successful therapeutic strategies for the treatment of AKI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-263
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Acute renal failure
  • Acute tubular necrosis
  • Hypoxic/ischemic injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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