Background:The optimal time to initiate renal replacement therapy (RRT) in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) is unclear. We examined the impact of early RRT on long-term mortality, risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Methods:This cohort study included all adult patients treated with continuous RRT in the ICU at Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Denmark (2005–2015). Data were obtained from a clinical information system and population-based registries. Early treatment was defined as RRT initiation at AKI stage 2 or below, and late treatment was defined as RRT initiation at AKI stage 3. Inverse probability of treatment (IPT) weights were computed from propensity scores. The IPT-weighted cumulative risk of CKD (estimated glomerular filtration rate < 60 ml/minute/1.73 m2), ESRD, and mortality was estimated and compared using IPT-weighted Cox regression.
Results:The mortality, CKD, and ESRD analyses included 1213, 303, and 617 patients, respectively. The 90-day mortality in the early RRT group was 53.6% compared with 46.0% in the late RRT group (HR 1.24, 95% CI 1.03–1.48). The 90-day to 5-year mortality was 37.7% and 41.5% in the early and late RRT groups, respectively (HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.70–1.29). The 5-year risk of CKD was 35.9% in the early RRT group and 44.9% in the late RRT group (HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.46–1.18). The 5-year risk of ESRD was 13.3% in the early RRT group and 16.7% in the late RRT group (HR 0.79, 95% CI 0.47–1.32).
Conclusions:Early initiation was associated with increased 90-day mortality. In patients surviving to day 90, early initiation was not associated with a major impact on long-term mortality or risk of CKD and ESRD. Despite potential residual confounding due to the observational design, our findings do not support that early RRT initiation is superior to late initiation.