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Siew ED, Peterson JF, Eden SK, Hung AM, Speroff T, Ikizler TA, Matheny ME. Outpatient nephrology referral rates after acute kidney injury. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN. 2012 Feb 1; 23(2):305-12.
AKI associates with an increased risk for the development and progression of CKD and mortality. Processes of care after an episode of AKI are not well described. Here, we examined the likelihood of nephrology referral among survivors of AKI at risk for subsequent decline in kidney function in a US Department of Veterans Affairs database. We identified 3929 survivors of AKI hospitalized between January 2003 and December 2008 who had an estimated GFR (eGFR) < 60 ml/min per 1.73 m(2) 30 days after peak injury. We analyzed time to referral considering improvement in kidney function (eGFR = 60 ml/min per 1.73 m(2)), dialysis initiation, and death as competing risks over a 12-month surveillance period. Median age was 73 years (interquartile range, 62-79 years) and the prevalence of preadmission kidney dysfunction (baseline eGFR < 60 ml/min per 1.73 m(2)) was 60%. Overall mortality during the surveillance period was 22%. The cumulative incidence of nephrology referral before dying, initiating dialysis, or experiencing an improvement in kidney function was 8.5% (95% confidence interval, 7.6-9.4). Severity of AKI did not affect referral rates. These data demonstrate that a minority of at-risk survivors are referred for nephrology care after an episode of AKI. Determining how to best identify survivors of AKI who are at highest risk for complications and progression of CKD could facilitate early nephrology-based interventions.