OBJECTIVES: Using a prospective study design, we aimed to characterise the effect
of acute kidney injury (AKI) on long-term changes in renal function in a general hospital population. PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalised patients with AKI (exposed) and hospitalised patients without AKI (non-exposed), recruited at 3 months after hospital admission. DESIGN: Prospective, matched parallel group cohort study, in which renal function and proteinuria were measured at 3 months, 1 year and 3 years. SETTING: Single UK centre. CLINICAL END POINTS: Clinical end points at 3 years were comparison of the following variables between exposed and non-exposed groups: renal function, prevalence of proteinuria and albuminuria and chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression/development at each time point. CKD progression was defined as a decrease in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of ≥25% associated with a decline in eGFR stage. RESULTS: 300 exposed and non-exposed patients were successfully matched 1:1 for age and baseline renal function; 70% of the exposed group had AKI stage 1. During follow-up, the AKI group had lower eGFR than non-exposed patients at each time point. At 3 years, the mean eGFR was 60.7±21 mL/min/1.73 m(2) in the AKI group compared with 68.4±21 mL/min/1.73 m(2) in the non-exposed group, p=0.003. CKD development or progression at 3 years occurred in 30 (24.6%) of the AKI group compared with 10 (7.5%) of the non-exposed group, p<0.001. Albuminuria was more common in the AKI group, and increased with AKI severity. Factors independently associated with CKD development/progression after AKI were non-recovery at 90 days, male gender, diabetes and recurrent AKI. CONCLUSIONS: AKI is associated with deterioration in renal function to 3 years, even in an unselected population with predominantly AKI stage 1. Non-recovery from AKI is an important factor determining long-term outcome.