Acute renal failure of medical type in an elderly population

A Baraldi, M Ballestri, R Rapanà, L Lucchi, P Borella, M Leonelli, L Furci, E Lusvarghi
Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 1998, 13 Suppl 7: 25-9
One hundred and nine unselected patients with Acute Renal Failure (ARF) of medical aetiology were hospitalized at the Nephrological Unit of Policlinico University Hospital (Modena) during a 30-month period. ARF was considered as a rapid increase of serum creatinine > 2mg/dl over the baseline level or the doubling of pre-existing value in chronic renal failure. Mean age of patients was 67+/-17 years and median age was 72; 64.2% needing dialytic treatment. Four main causes of ARF were identified: 33 patients had reduced renal perfusion by dehydration, hypotension etc.; 20 multifactorial aetiology; 14 biopsy-investigated renal parenchymal diseases and 39 had drug-related acute renal failure (D-ARF). The clinical outcome was significantly worse in elderly patients as regard mortality (P < 0.02), chronic dialytic treatment (P < 0.04) and complete recovery (P < 0.004). The mean age of D-ARF patients was significantly greater than remaining ARF patients (72.6+/-12.8 vs 63.2+/-18.5: P < 0.004. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and ACE-inhibitors (Ace-i) caused ARF in 24 and 8 patients respectively. Elderly age, vascular disease and monoclonal gammopathy represented the main risk factors and were significantly more frequent in D-ARF patients (P<001, <0.01, <0.04 respectively). Our data confirm the high susceptibility of ageing kidneys to nephrotoxic damage caused by drugs affecting glomerular autoregulation by microvascular mechanisms. Greater attention to renal changes in ageing and an increased dissemination of preventative measures among nephrologists, could reduce the incidence of these serious and potentially lethal diseases.

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