One thousand monthly deaths from avoidable kidney problems


Researchers have revealed that acute kidney injury costs in excess of £1bn each year and causes a minimum of 15,000 deaths per annum.

A study which was commissioned by the NHS indicates that a minimum of 1000 patients in hospital in England die on a monthly basis from kidney problems that could be avoided.

They found that around 15,000 to 40,000 excess deaths occur each year due to acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI causes the loss of kidney function and is able to develop fairly rapidly. It may occur in patients who already suffer with conditions such as diabetes and heart failure, and patients who are admitted to hospitals with infections.

The injury may develop after a patient has undergone major surgery, due to the deprivation of normal blood flow to the kidneys during the surgical procedure. One of the main causes of this condition is severe dehydration.

Kidney disease experts and Insight Health Economics, who were responsible for the research, found that the injury is five times higher in hospitals in England than was previously thought.

The co-author of the report, Professor Donal O’Donoghue, a consultant renal physician from Salford Royal NHS foundation trust, said that they are aware that a minimum of one thousand people die in hospital monthly from AKI caused by poor care.

He said that the deaths are avoidable, completely unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue. He stated that good basic care could save these lives, as well as millions of pounds for the NHS. Nurses and doctors should be carrying out elementary checks to try and prevent AKI. He further said that patients who are undergoing surgery should not go without water for more than a two-hour period. If this period is unavoidable, the onus is on medical staff to check that patients do not become dehydrated. The medical staff should also be aware that there is an increased risk of AKI linked to certain medications.

A spokesperson for the NHS England has stated that they have taken steps to implement long-term plans to reduce the avoidable death rate in their hospitals. They are also looking at ways to improve the methods in which data is used during the decision-making process.

NHS England has stated that real life based health research is extremely important to their commissioners in deciding where resources should be targeted.

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