Kidney Blood Press Res. 2022 Jan 13. doi: 10.1159/000521833. Online ahead of print.
Introduction Electrolytes disorders are common findings in kidney diseases and might represent a useful biomarker preceding kidney injury. Serum potassium [K+] imbalance is still poorly investigated for association with acute kidney injury (AKI) and most evidence come from intensive care units (ICU). The aim of our study was to comprehensively investigate this association in a large, unselected cohort of hospitalized patients.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective observational cohort study on the inpatient population admitted to Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2014 with inclusion of adult patients with at least 2 [K+] and 3 serum creatinine (sCr) measurements who did not develop AKI during an initial 10-day window. The outcome of interest was in-hospital AKI. The exposures of interest were [K+] fluctuations and hypo (HoK) and hyperkalemia (HerK). [K+] variability was evaluated using the coefficient of variation (CV). Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to obtain hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of the association between the exposures of interest and development of AKI.
RESULTS: 21,830 hospital admissions from 18,836 patients were included in our study. During a median follow-up of 5 (interquartile range [IQR] 7) days, AKI was observed in 555 hospital admissions (2.9%); median time for AKI development was 5 (IQR 7) days. Higher [K+] variability was independently associated with increased risk of AKI with a statistically significant linear trend across groups (p-value = 0.012). A significantly higher incidence of AKI was documented in patients with HerK compared with normokalemia. No statistically significant difference was observed between HoK and HerK (p-value = 0.92).
CONCLUSION: [K+] abnormalities including fluctuations even within the normal range are associated with development of AKI.