BACKGROUND: Consensus guidelines for acute kidney injury (AKI) have recommended prompt treatment including attention to fluid balance, drug dosing and avoidance of nephrotoxins. These simple measures can be incorporated in a care bundle to facilitate early implementation. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of compliance with the AKI care bundle (AKI-CB) on in-hospital case-fatality and AKI progression. METHODS: In this larger, propensity score-matched cohort of multifactorial AKI, we examined the impact of compliance with an AKI-CB in 3717 consecutive episodes of AKI in 3518 patients between 1 August 2013 and 31 January 2015. Propensity score matching was performed to match 939 AKI events where the AKI-CB was completed with 1823 AKI events where AKI-CB was not completed. RESULTS: The AKI-CB was completed in 25.6% of patients within 24 h. The unadjusted case-fatality was higher when the AKI-CB was not completed versus when the AKI-CB was completed (24.4 versus 20.4%, P = 0.017). In multivariable analysis, AKI-CB completion within 24 h was associated with lower odds for in-hospital death [odds ratio (OR): 0.76; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.62-0.92]. Increasing age (OR: 1.04; 95% CI: 1.03-1.05), hospital-acquired AKI (OR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.04-1.58), AKI stage 2 (OR: 1.91; 95% CI: 1.53-2.39) and increasing Charlson's comorbidity index (CCI) [OR: 3.31 (95% CI: 2.37-4.64) for CCI of more than 5 compared with zero] had higher odds for death, whereas AKI during elective admission was associated with lower odds for death (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.16-0.52). Progression to higher AKI stages was lower when the AKI-CB was completed (4.2 versus 6.7%, P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Compliance with an AKI-CB was associated with lower mortality and reduced progression of AKI to higher stages. The AKI-CB is simple and inexpensive, and could therefore be applied in all healthcare settings to improve outcomes.