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Acute kidney injury causes thousands of needless deaths

New NICE guidance targets non-specialists in bid to boost recognition

Caroline White

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Staving off just one in five cases of acute kidney injury could prevent thousands of deaths every year and substantially reduce complications and their associated costs, says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in new draft guidance.

The guideline was developed after the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) reported that suboptimal care may be contributing to development of acute kidney injury. The report described systemic deficiencies in the care of patients who had died of acute kidney injury, only half of whom had received good care.

Acute kidney injury is seen in 13-18% of all people admitted to hospital, with older adults particularly affected. It costs the NHS between £434 million and £620 million a year—more than the costs associated with breast cancer, lung, and skin cancer combined.

The draft recommendations, which are intended for non-specialists, who will care for most patients with acute kidney injury, aim to address known and unacceptable variations in the recognition, assessment, and initial treatment up to the point of renal replacement therapy.

They emphasise the importance of early intervention and stress the importance of risk assessment and prevention, and timely access to specialist services.

Fiona Loud, Director of the Kidney Alliance and member of the NICE Guideline Commissioning Group said: “This draft guidance highlights the importance of raising awareness and providing education about acute kidney injury both to healthcare staff and the public.

As this draft guidance becomes open for consultation on World Kidney Day we hope we can make people aware of the risks and reduce the vast number of people who are currently suffering from this avoidable condition.”

The draft consultation runs until Monday 29 April 2013, with final guidance expected in August.

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