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Ventilator-Induced Kidney Injury: Are Novel Biomarkers the Key to Prevention?

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Mechanical ventilation is associated with significant increases in the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI). The rate of AKI due to mechanical ventilation and the associated mortality remain unacceptably high. Preventative and therapeutic strategies are clearly lacking. Ventilator-induced kidney injury is believed to occur due to changes in hemodynamics that impair renal perfusion, neurohumoral-mediated alterations in intra-renal blood flow, and systemic inflammatory mediators generated by ventilator-induced lung injury. The risk of injury to the kidney by these mechanisms may be modified by open lung protective ventilation with low tidal volumes and high positive end expiratory pressure. However, these strategies may also increase the risk of injury in some settings, and clinicians have limited means to identify the optimal ventilator strategy for each specific patient. Novel urinary biomarkers have demonstrated the ability to predict AKI prior to classic clinical signs such as decreased urine output and increased creatinine. These biomarkers may serve as an early indication to intensivists of an injurious ventilator strategy and failure of traditional management.

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