100 Ways of Using Data to Make Lives Better

Understanding the Prognosis of Acute Kidney Injury to Improve the Way We Plan Care

Published on: 1st June 2017

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Precision and Stratified Medicine
Case Study 36

Project Lead: Dr Simon Sawhney, University of Aberdeen

By looking at the data of 17,000 Scottish patients, researchers were able to study the risk of suffering from Acute Kidney Injury after discharge from hospital.

The Challenge

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious and common condition that occurs in around 1 in 7 hospital admissions. Recent clinical research has focused on how we can best provide good care to people who are in hospital with AKI. However, some people who have AKI are still at an increased risk of poor health outcomes even after they have left hospital.

To improve the plans that clinicians and patients make at hospital discharge, researchers from the University of Aberdeen used data from the North of Scotland to determine which patients with AKI while in hospital remain at risk of poor health outcomes after leaving hospital.

The Research

The researchers followed 17,000 people admitted to hospital in the North of Scotland in 2003 for 10 years. They linked records of hospital admissions, blood laboratory results and renal registry records to determine which people with kidney disease had an unplanned hospital readmission, worsening of kidney disease or died.

The study was funded by the Wellcome trust and Farr institute. Grampian Data Safe-Haven facilities were used to ensure that data were safe and secure.

The Results

The study found that there was an increased risk of poor health outcomes for people with AKI that was greatest early on, gradually fell over time, but persisted for up to 10 years.

The first 90 days after hospital discharge were a critical period when up to 1 in 3 people with AKI had an unplanned hospital readmission. The first year after hospital discharge was also an important period in the recovery process. Some people continued to recover while others were prone to a relapse or recurrence of kidney problems.

The Impact

This study provides evidence that AKI has long lasting implications and warrants careful planning, even after a person has recovered and gone home from hospital.
Results from this study have been used to inform recommendations on how clinicians and patients can best plan care after leaving hospital.

The researchers from University of Aberdeen are now teaming up with researchers across the UK Farr network and other researchers in North America to evaluate whether AKI has different implications in different healthcare settings.


For more information about acute kidney injury and kidney disease please visit the “Think Kidneys” website which contains practical information for patients, carers and healthcare professionals.

Enquiries to Sabine Kurz, Communications Assistant, The Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, sabine.kurz@ed.ac.uk

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