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The misdiagnoses of acute kidney injury

Feb 28, 2017 | Failure to Diagnose

Patients in New York who have received an initial diagnosis of acute kidney injury may want to be aware that this condition is often misdiagnosed. This is according to a study conducted by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center. The findings, which are based on an examination of electronic medical records of 3.8 million intensive care and emergency patients, indicate that the current procedure for assessing kidney function may provide misleading results during the initial evaluation of a patient.

The researchers assert that the commonly used blood test that measures the amount of serum creatinine in urine provides only a snapshot of the kidney’s function at a particular moment. The specifics of this brief glance can differ depending on factors such as muscle mass and body size.

Every year, about 5 to 7 percent of patients who are admitted to hospitals in the United States and 30 to 50 percent of patients in intensive or critical care receive a diagnosis of acute kidney injury. However, the true extent of the injury remains unknown for several days because creatinine tests can provide only a retrospective glance at the kidney’s reaction to a potential injury. Also, the blood test is capable of registering a false positive for an acute kidney injury.

Over 61,000 diagnoses of acute kidney injury indicated by an increase in creatinine levels were detected during the review of the medical records. However, no more than three days after the initial diagnosis, the creatinine levels of 73 percent of these patients had returned to normal. This indicates that there many have not been kidney damage.

Victims of medical malpractice include those who have received misread test results. A medical malpractice attorney may pursue financial compensation for a client who received delayed treatment due to a medical error.