J Nephrol. 2021 Jun 25. doi: 10.1007/s40620-021-01100-3. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Acute kidney injury (AKI) in Covid-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) is common, and its severity may be associated with unfavorable outcomes. Severe Covid-19 fulfills the diagnostic criteria for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); however, it is unclear whether there is any relationship between ventilatory management and AKI development in Covid-19 ICU patients.
PURPOSE: To describe the clinical course and outcomes of Covid-19 ICU patients, focusing on ventilatory management and factors associated with AKI development.
METHODS: Single-center, retrospective observational study, which assessed AKI incidence in Covid-19 ICU patients divided by positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) tertiles, with median levels of 9.6 (low), 12.0 (medium), and 14.7 cmH2O (high-PEEP).
RESULTS: Overall mortality was 51.5%. AKI (KDIGO stage 2 or 3) occurred in 38% of 101 patients. Among the AKI patients, 19 (53%) required continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). In AKI patients, mortality was significantly higher versus non-AKI (81% vs. 33%, p < 0.0001). The incidence of AKI in low-, medium-, or high-PEEP patients were 16%, 38%, and 59%, respectively (p = 0.002). In a multivariate analysis, high-PEEP patients showed a higher risk of developing AKI than low-PEEP patients (OR = 4.96 [1.1-21.9] 95% CI p < 0.05). ICU mortality rate was higher in high-PEEP patients, compared to medium-PEEP or low-PEEP patients (69% vs. 44% and 42%, respectively; p = 0.057).
CONCLUSION: The use of high PEEP in Covid-19 ICU patients is associated with a fivefold higher risk of AKI, leading to higher mortality. The cause and effect relationship needs further analysis.