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An Organisational Level Programme of Intervention for AKI: A Pragmatic Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomised Trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Nicholas Selby
  • Anna Casula
  • Laura Lamming
  • John Stoves
  • Yohan Samarasinghe
  • Lewington Andrew
  • Russell Roberts
  • Nikunj Shah
  • Melanie Johnson
  • Natalie Jackson
  • Carol Jones
  • Erik Lenguerrand
  • Eileen McDonach
  • Richard Fluck
  • Mohammed A Mohammed
  • Fergus Caskey
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Early online date21 Feb 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Jan 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 21 Feb 2019


Background: Variable standards of care may contribute to poor outcomes associated with acute kidney injury (AKI). We evaluated whether a multifaceted intervention (AKI e-alerts, an AKI care bundle and an education programme) would improve delivery of care and patient outcomes.

Methods: A multi-centre, pragmatic, stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial (SWCRT) was performed in five UK hospitals. The intervention was introduced sequentially across fixed three-month periods until all hospitals were exposed. The intervention schedule was randomly determined. All patients with AKI aged ≥18 years were included. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality, with pre-specified secondary endpoints and a nested evaluation of care process delivery. The nature of the intervention precluded blinding, but data collection and analysis were independent of project delivery teams.

Findings: 24,059 AKI episodes were studied. Overall 30-day mortality was 24.5%, with no difference between control and intervention periods (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.91-1.21). Hospital length of stay (LoS) was reduced with the intervention (-0.2days (95% CI -0.5 to 0.1), -0.7days (-1.3 to -0.2) and -1.3days (-2.5 to -0.2) at the 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7 quantiles respectively). AKI incidence increased (adjusted incidence rate ratio 1.12, 95% CI 1.03-1.22) with a parallel increase in the proportion of patients with a coded diagnosis of AKI. Process measures were assessed in 1048 patients, with improvements seen in several metrics including AKI recognition, medication optimisation and fluid assessment.

Conclusions: A complex, hospital-wide intervention to reduce harm associated with AKI did not alter 30-day AKI mortality but did result in reductions in LoS, accompanied by improvements in in quality of care. AKI incidence increased, likely reflecting improved recognition.

    Research areas

  • acute renal failure, clinical nephrology, e-alert, care bundle, education, AKI

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via ASN at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 500 KB, PDF document


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