In hospitals and in the community, the incidence of acute kidney injury (AKI) is high and rising worldwide. At the societal level, AKI is increasingly recognized as a major public health burden (1). For the individual patient, severe AKI is a life-altering event with profound immediate and future consequences. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the impact of AKI in hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
AKI is not a single disease but a syndrome caused by multiple mechanisms in patients with different comorbidities and several potential treatment targets. By developing the AKINow initiative, ASN is committed to defining excellence in AKI prevention and care, aiming to describe pathogenic mechanisms, transform management, reduce morbidity and mortality, and improve short- and long-term outcomes (2).
To achieve these goals, AKINow has established four workgroups that will design a broad educational program, bridging the continuum from basic investigations to clinical studies and focusing on early recognition, intervention, and effective therapies with a patient-centered focus (Figure 1).
The Public Awareness and Education Workgroup leverages existing educational platforms and develops novel educational tools for health professionals and patients. This workgroup launched the interactive AKI-Now Compendium, a searchable database of AKI-related resources within the ASN library of offerings. Further goals of the workgroup include the promotion of AKI quality initiatives, emphasizing the role of continuous quality improvement to enhance AKI recognition and care (3). These initiatives extend not only to the nephrology community, but importantly, they aim to expand into all domains of clinical practice by interacting and developing new knowledge together with all medical and surgical specialists, understanding that AKI recognition and management often rest on non-nephrology practitioners. Woven through all educational efforts is the acknowledgment that patients and their families are an intrinsic part of the recognition and healing process.
Woven through all educational efforts is the acknowledgment that patients and their families are an intrinsic part of the recognition and healing process.
The focus of the Basic Science: AKI-Specific Early Interventions Workgroup is broad, spanning molecular and cell biology research to investigator education. The group will pursue goals to promote collaborative and inclusive discovery research that translates more effectively to patients, including:
Developing a centralized, searchable database portal that provides a resource for the research community
Lowering entry barriers for researchers interested in AKI by developing interactive educational content
Promoting greater collaboration among AKI basic researchers, translational investigators, and researchers in other fields
Articulating a preclinical roadmap that facilitates the translation of new discoveries to novel therapies
Enhancing communication around AKI innovation by fostering an open and vibrant community of patients, researchers, clinicians, and other stakeholders to promote a culture of continuous innovation
The AKI Recognition and Clinical Interventions: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Workgroup has outlined objectives in three key domains:
This project, with involvement from a multi-disciplinary group of collaborators, aims to promote efficient and effective use of AI for quality improvement in AKI care, such as the NINJA (Nephrotoxic Injury Negated by Just-in-time Action) program (4).
Specific deliverables include developing risk-stratification and prediction tools; intelligent alert tools; decision support for bundled care compliance; and decision support for implementing pragmatic clinical trials. Importantly, this work will fill gaps to validate available AI tools and to develop new AI tools that do not currently exist, delivering highly useful AI implements for improving AKI care and research and reducing costs.
The AKI Recovery Workgroup aims to identify challenges and opportunities to improve post-AKI care (5–7) and to develop tests and supportive strategies that build capacity for delivery of post-AKI care. Research options include a wide spectrum of interventions, spanning the role of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, angiotensin II receptor blocker, and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors to the importance of physical, mental, and cognitive rehabilitation.
Survivors of AKI are a high-risk, growing population, with potentially poor long-term outcomes. How to care for patients after AKI remains ill-defined and with substantial practice variation. This fall, the workgroup will host two focus group sessions to outline challenges and opportunities in developing evidence-based practice in post-AKI on dialysis care and to determine gaps in care of AKI survivors.