Acute kidney injury in patients with cirrhosis

Academic Article


  • Acute kidney injury (AKI) occurs commonly in patients with advanced cirrhosis and negatively impacts pre-and post-transplant outcomes. Physiologic changes that occur in patients with decompensated cirrhosis with ascites, place these patients at high risk of AKI. The most common causes of AKI in cirrhosis include prerenal injury, acute tubular necrosis (ATN), and the hepatorenal syndrome (HRS), accounting for more than 80% of AKI in this population. Distinguishing between these causes is particularly important for prognostication and treatment. Treatment of Type 1 HRS with vasoconstrictors and albumin improves short term survival and renal function in some patients while awaiting liver transplantation. Patients with HRS who fail to respond to medical therapy or those with severe renal failure of other etiology may require renal replacement therapy. Simultaneous liver kidney transplant (SLK) is needed in many of these patients to improve their post-transplant outcomes. However, the criteria to select patients who would benefit from SLK transplantation are based on consensus and lack strong evidence to support them. In this regard, novel serum and/or urinary biomarkers such as neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, interleukins-6 and 18, kidney injury molecule-1, fatty acid binding protein, and endothelin-1 are emerging with a potential for accurately differentiating common causes of AKI. Prospective studies are needed on the use of these biomarkers to predict accurately renal function recovery after liver transplantation alone in order to optimize personalized use of SLK.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Russ KB; Stevens TM; Singal AK
  • Start Page

  • 195
  • End Page

  • 204
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 3