Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common complication in intensive care unit (ICU) patients and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We compared long-term outcome and quality of life (QOL) in ICU patients with AKI treated with renal replacement therapy (RRT) with matched non-AKI-RRT patients.
Over 1 year, consecutive adult ICU patients were included in a prospective cohort study. AKI-RRT patients alive at 1 year and 4 years were matched with non-AKI-RRT survivors from the same cohort in a 1:2 (1 year) and 1:1 (4 years) ratio based on gender, age, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, and admission category. QOL was assessed by the EuroQoL-5D and the Short Form-36 survey before ICU admission and at 3 months, 1 and 4 years after ICU discharge.
Of 1953 patients, 121 (6.2 %) had AKI-RRT. AKI-RRT hospital survivors (44.6 %; N = 54) had a 1-year and 4-year survival rate of 87.0 % (N = 47) and 64.8 % (N = 35), respectively. Forty-seven 1-year AKI-RRT patients were matched with 94 1-year non-AKI-RRT patients. Of 35 4-year survivors, three refused further cooperation, three were lost to follow-up, and one had no control. Finally, 28 4-year AKI-RRT patients were matched with 28 non-AKI-RRT patients. During ICU stay, 1-year and 4-year AKI-RRT patients had more organ dysfunction compared to their respective matches (Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores 7 versus 5, P < 0.001, and 7 versus 4, P < 0.001). Long-term QOL was, however, comparable between both groups but lower than in the general population. QOL decreased at 3 months, improved after 1 and 4 years but remained under baseline level. One and 4 years after ICU discharge, 19.1 % and 28.6 % of AKI-RRT survivors remained RRT-dependent, respectively, and 81.8 % and 71 % of them were willing to undergo ICU admission again if needed.
In long-term critically ill AKI-RRT survivors, QOL was comparable to matched long-term critically ill non-AKI-RRT survivors, but lower than in the general population. The majority of AKI-RRT patients wanted to be readmitted to the ICU when needed, despite a higher severity of illness compared to matched non-AKI-RRT patients, and despite the fact that one quarter had persistent dialysis dependency.
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