A REPORT on the impact of acute kidney injury has estimated that 15,000-40,000 excess deaths every year may be due to inadequate care in hospitals in England.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) can lead to a rapid loss of kidney function, with severe dehydration being one of the main causes. It often occurs in people who are already ill with conditions such as heart failure or diabetes and those admitted to hospital with infections. AKI can also develop after major surgery when the kidneys have been deprived of normal blood flow during a procedure.
In a study published in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, researchers from Insight Health Economics working with renal physicians in Kent and Salford estimated that the annual number of excess inpatient deaths associated with AKI in England could be above 40,000 with the annual cost of AKI-related inpatient care in England in excess of £1bn.
The report's co-author Prof Donal O'Donoghue, a consultant renal physician at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, told the Press Association: "We know that at least a thousand people a month are dying in hospital from AKI due to poor care.
"These deaths are avoidable. This is completely unacceptable and we can't allow it to continue. Good basic care would save these lives and save millions of pounds for the NHS. Doctors and nurses need to make elementary checks to prevent AKI. In general, people who are having surgery shouldn't be asked to go without water for longer than two hours.
"Sometimes that is unavoidable, but then medical staff need to check their patients are not becoming dehydrated. They also need to be aware that some common medications increase the risk of AKI."