BACKGROUND - While acute kidney injury (AKI) has been well studied in a variety of patient settings, there is a paucity of data in patients injured in the course of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We sought to establish the rate of early AKI in this population and to define risk factors for its development.
METHODS - We combined the results of two studies performed at combat support hospitals in Afghanistan. Only US service members who required care in the intensive care unit were included for analysis. Data on age, race, sex, Injury Severity Score (ISS), first available lactate, and requirement for massive transfusion were collected. Univariate analyses were performed to identify factors associated with the subsequent development of early AKI. Multivariable Cox regression was used to adjust for potential confounders.
RESULTS - The two observational cohorts yielded 134 subjects for analysis. The studies had broadly similar populations but differed in terms of age and need for massive transfusion. The rate of early AKI in the combined cohort was 34.3%, with the majority (80.5%) occurring within the first two hospital days. Patients with AKI had higher unadjusted mortality rates than those without AKI (21.7% vs. 2.3%, p < 0.001). After adjustment, ISS (hazard ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.03; p = 0.046) and initial lactate (hazard ratio, 1.16; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.31; p = 0.015) were independently associated with the development of AKI.
CONCLUSION - AKI is common in combat casualties enrolled in two prospective intensive care unit studies, occurring in 34.3%, and is associated with crude mortality. ISS and initial lactate are independently associated with the subsequent development of early AKI.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE - Prognostic and epidemiologic study, level III.