Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common problem highly associated with hospitalisation. AKI is the cause of harmful short-term consequences: longer hospital stays, greater disability after discharge, and greater risk of in-hospital mortality, as well as adverse long-term outcomes, such as progression to chronic kidney disease, development of cardiovascular disease, and increased risk of long-term mortality. The concept of AKI has changed since the introduction of the ‘Risk, Injury, Failure, Loss of kidney function, End-stage kidney disease’ (RIFLE) classification. More recently, the ‘Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes’ (KDIGO) classification appears to have provided increased diagnostic sensitivity and outcome-prediction capability. Novel biomarkers and further research on the role of the immune system in AKI may help improve the diagnosis, severity, outcome evaluation, and treatment of the condition. In this review we describe the epidemiology, diagnosis, and prognosis of AKI, as well as possible future directions for its clinical management.
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