Your child hospitalised? It can increase his risk of this deadly disease
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality globally. According to a study published in the Lancet Journal on ‘incidence and outcomes of neonatal acute kidney injury’, in four countries – India, Canada, USA and Australia, almost one out of every three new-borns when hospitalised for any illness and administered intravenous fluids commonly known as drips, are at a higher risk of kidney injury. Children upto the age of 18 years are equally vulnerable.
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a disease in which the kidneys stop functioning abruptly over a period of few days. As a result, body waste builds up in the blood causing an imbalance in the body fluid balance. If untreated, this can lead to kidney failure. Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)increases the risk of long-term disability and chronic kidney diseases, and in several cases, leads to mortality.
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is preventable. Following precautionary measures are advised to parents of susceptible children to avoid the disease:
1. During diarrhoea, maintenance of hydration is key to preventing acute kidney injury. Children should be closely observed for their overall well-being, hydration status, sensorium and urine output during this period. It is important to replenish the loss of body fluids with home-based fluids or oral rehydration solutions (ORS).
2. Kidney function and urine output should be routinely measured in the hospital – Blood test (serum creatinine) must be done for children in the intensive care unit (ICU) to detect kidney injury.
Children with acute kidney injury are at a risk of fluid overload. There may be a need for removing fluids multiple times a day depending on the patient’s condition. This is particularly crucial in children and new-borns, since their body contains more water as compared to adults. Fluid balance is a controllable factor in critical illnesses and therefore must be monitored regularly to keep a check.
3. If the child needs to undergo a CT Scan, it’s important to keep him / her hydrated as the dye used for the scan, can have an adverse effect on the kidneys.
4. Avoid self-medication with over-the-counter pain and fever medicines, such as ibuprofen and mefenamic acid as consuming excess of these can damage the kidneys and cause AKI.
5. Avoid indigenous formulations. These commonly contain heavy metals, such as cadmium, mercury, lead, chromium and platinum. These metals affect the kidneys adversely.
Symptoms such as blood in the urine, decreased urine output and swelling or puffiness in different parts of the body, especially around the eyes, legs and feet are indicators of AKI. A paediatric nephrologist should be consulted immediately if any of these symptoms is observed.
By Dr. Sidharth Kumar Sethi, Senior Consultant, Nephrology, Kidney and Urology Institute, Medanta- The Medicity