One of the great things about being involved with CLAHRC Wessex has been the opportunity to engage with other research teams around the country doing similar work. A group of us have been part of a network of people across England, Scotland and Wales who are interested in acute kidney injury (AKI). A challenge with AKI research is that it can be misleading if you don’t use the same methods and definitions to define the condition.
We have been using the opportunities provided by CLAHRC Wessex to investigate differences and similarities in the rates of AKI in health databases in very different geographical areas in Grampian, Salford and Swansea. To give you an idea of scale, the total number of people was about 500,000 in Grampian, 400,000 in Swansea and about 200,000 in Salford. The findings are in a recently published article in BMJ Open: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/6/e019435
The key thing is that we have applied exactly the same methods to these large, anonymised databases to try and minimise data error as a reason for any variation in rates of the condition that might otherwise be observed. We have found that, when we did this, the number of people getting AKI in the different regions is very similar (about 150 cases per 10 000 people per year). In one of these areas (Grampian) we were also able to look at whether the amount of AKI happening over time was changing. We found that it wasn’t.
An important finding that was consistent across all of these areas was that AKI was much more common in older people.
The findings of this study can help people trying to prevent and treat AKI by giving a good idea of the scale of the problem in the UK and knowing that older people are particularly at risk.