Biomarkers May Predict Acute Kidney Injury in Critically Ill Patients

An international, multi-center study led by UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences researchers found biomarkers that can indicate patient risk for acute kidney injury (AKI). The results are available online in the current edition of the journal Critical Care.
The study aimed to identify early markers in order to detect AKI when interventions could provide benefit. Researchers collected blood and urine samples of more than 1,000 critically ill patients in North America and Europe. The biomarkers, known as TIMP-2 and IGFB7, signal that the kidneys are stressed and not functioning properly but may still recover. They are indicators of cell damage, a key component in the onset of AKI.
Existing methods of determining kidney function, such as measuring serum creatinine and urine output, may not indicate changes for several days, allowing time for significant kidney damage to occur. Biomarkers may help physicians more accurately determine the risk of AKI in critically ill patients so that early treatment can minimize progression and save lives. 
 “If unchecked, AKI can lead to loss of kidney function, often resulting in lower quality of life or even death. Our data show that these biomarkers provide more information than traditional tests for kidney function and give us a better understanding of what physically happens when a kidney is damaged,” said senior investigator John Kellum, MD, a critical care physician at UPMC and professor of critical care at the University of Pittsburgh.
Co-authors of the study include researchers from 35 medical centers worldwide.
The study was sponsored by Astute Medical Inc. John Kellum has received consulting fees from Astute Medical.