The Acute Kidney Outreach to Prevent Deterioration and Death trial: a large pilot study for a cluster-randomized trial

Mark E Thomas, Tarek S Abdelaziz, Gavin D Perkins, Alice J Sitch, Jyoti Baharani, R Mark Temple
Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 2019 December 20

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The Acute Kidney Outreach to Reduce Deterioration and Death trial was a large pilot study for a cluster-randomized trial of acute kidney injury (AKI) outreach.

METHODS: An observational control (before) phase was conducted in two teaching hospitals (9 miles apart) and their respective catchment areas. In the intervention (after) phase, a working-hours AKI outreach service operated for the intervention hospital/area for 20 weeks, with the other site acting as a control. All AKI alerts in both hospital and community patients were screened for inclusion. Major exclusion criteria were patients who were at the end of life, unlikely to benefit from outreach, lacking mental capacity or already referred to the renal team. The intervention arm included a model of escalation of renal care to AKI patients, depending on AKI stage. The 30-day primary outcome was a combination of death, or deterioration, as shown by any need for dialysis or progression in AKI stage. A total of 1762 adult patients were recruited; 744 at the intervention site during the after phase.

RESULTS: A median of 3.0 non-medication recommendations and 0.5 medication-related recommendations per patient were made by the outreach team a median of 15.7 h after the AKI alert. Relatively low rates of the primary outcomes of death within 30 days (11-15%) or requirement for dialysis (0.4-3.7%) were seen across all four groups. In an exploratory analysis, at the intervention hospital during the after phase, there was an odds ratio for the combined primary outcome of 0.73 (95% confidence interval 0.42-1.26; P = 0.26).

CONCLUSIONS: An AKI outreach service can provide standardized specialist care to those with AKI across a healthcare economy. Trials assessing AKI outreach may benefit from focusing on those patients with 'mid-range' prognosis, where nephrological intervention could have the most impact.

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