Management of acute kidney injury in children: A guide for pediatricians

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14 Scopus citations


Acute kidney injury (AKI; previously called acute renal failure) is characterized by a usually reversible increase in the blood concentration of creatinine and nitrogenous waste products and by the inability of the kidney to appropriately regulate fluid and electrolyte homeostasis. 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. Renal failure can be divided into prerenal failure, intrinsic renal disease including vascular insults, and obstructive uropathies. The history, physical examination, and laboratory studies including a urinalysis and radiographic studies can establish the likely cause(s) of AKI. Once intrinsic renal failure has become established, management of the metabolic complications of AKI requires meticulous attention to fluid balance, electrolyte status, acid-base balance, and nutrition. Many children with AKI will need renal replacement therapy to remove endogenous and exogenous toxins and to maintain fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance until renal function improves. Renal replacement therapy may be provided by peritoneal dialysis (PD), intermittent hemodialysis (HD), or hemofiltration with or without a dialysis circuit. Many factors - including the age and size of the child, the cause of renal failure, the degree of metabolic derangements, blood pressure, and nutritional needs - are considered in deciding when to initiate renal replacement therapy and which modality of therapy to use. The prognosis of AKI is highly dependent on the underlying etiology of the AKI. Children who have AKI as a component of multisystem failure have a much higher mortality rate than children with intrinsic renal disease. Recovery from intrinsic renal disease is also highly dependent on the underlying etiology of the AKI. Children who have experienced AKI from any cause are at risk for late development of renal failure long after the initial insult. Such children need life-long monitoring of their renal function, blood pressure, and urinalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-390
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Drugs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 18 2008


  • Children
  • Diuretics, therapeutic use
  • Dopamine, therapeutic use
  • Electrolyte imbalance, treatment
  • Electrolytes, therapeutic use
  • Haemodialysis
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Renal failure, prevention
  • Renal failure, treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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