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Altered kidney function on the Acute Medical Unit

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Reduced kidney function, whether acute or chronic, is a highly significant biomarker of in most clinical settings. This is particularly true on the acute medical take where altered renal function is associated with a worse prognosis, and may also impact on immediate management strategies such as drug choice, dosing and suspension, and the use of contrast agents for imaging. In this edition of the Acute Medical Journal, Yang et al present the results of their study describing the renal function and associated characteristics in 2,070 consecutive patients presenting on the unselected medical take at their hospital over a 40 day period. In this study, the authors provide a wealth of information on the general characteristics of acute medical patients admitted with altered kidney function, be it CKD or AKI. Importantly, both chronic kidney disease (CKD) and acute kidney injury (AKI) are very highly prevalent. Indeed, in this study more than 5% of all medical admissions actually demonstrated evidence of both.

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