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Curr Opin Crit Care. 2019 Dec;25(6):580-590. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000656.

Acute kidney injury in pregnancy.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.



Pregnancy-related acute kidney injury (Pr-AKI) is associated with increased maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality and remains a large public health problem.


Pr-AKI incidence has globally decreased over time for the most part. However, the cause presents a disparity between developing and developed countries, reflecting differences in socioeconomic factors and healthcare infrastructure - with the noteworthy outlier of increased incidence in the United States and Canada. Although Pr-AKI can be secondary to conditions affecting the general population, in most cases it is pregnancy specific. Septic abortion, hyperemesis gravidarum, and hemorrhage have become less prevalent with access to healthcare but are being displaced by thrombotic microangiopathies, such as preeclampsia, hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets syndrome, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, and pregnancy-associated hemolytic-uremic syndromes, as well as acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Understanding these conditions plays a pivotal role in the timely diagnosis and enhancement of therapeutic approaches.


In this review, we focus on the renal physiology of the pregnancy, epidemiology, and specific conditions known to cause Pr-AKI, summarizing diagnostic definition, insights in pathophysiology, clinical considerations, and novel treatment approaches, thus providing the reader a framework of clinically relevant information for interdisciplinary management.

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