What are the cardiovascular complications of acute kidney injury (AKI)?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Biruh T Workeneh, MD, PhD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Cardiovascular complications (eg, heart failure, myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, cardiac arrest) have been observed in as many as 35% of patients with AKI. Fluid overload secondary to oliguric AKI is a particular risk for elderly patients with limited cardiac reserve. In cardiac patients who experience AKI either in the setting of acute decompensated heart failure or cardiac surgery, AKI is associated with worse morbidity and mortality. [4]

Pericarditis is a relatively rare complication of AKI. When pericarditis complicates AKI, consider additional diagnoses, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and hepatorenal syndrome.

AKI also can be a complication of cardiac diseases, such as endocarditis, decompensated heart failure, or atrial fibrillation with emboli. Cardiac arrest in a patient with AKI always should arouse suspicion of hyperkalemia. Many authors recommend a trial of intravenous calcium chloride (or gluconate) in all patients with AKI who experience cardiac arrest.

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