, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 2159-2173,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 Jan 2008

Nephrotoxicity as a cause of acute kidney injury in children


Many different drugs and agents may cause nephrotoxic acute kidney injury (AKI) in children. Predisposing factors such as age, pharmacogenetics, underlying disease, the dosage of the toxin, and concomitant medication determine and influence the severity of nephrotoxic insult. In childhood AKI, incidence, prevalence, and etiology are not well defined. Pediatric retrospective studies have reported incidences of AKI in pediatric intensive care units (PICU) of between 8% and 30%. It is widely recognized that neonates have higher rates of AKI, especially following cardiac surgery, severe asphyxia, or premature birth. The only two prospective studies in children found incidence rates of 4.5% and 2.5% of AKI in children admitted to PICU, respectively. Nephrotoxic drugs account for about 16% of all AKIs most commonly associated with AKI in older children and adolescents. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, amphotericin B, antiviral agents, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcineurin inhibitors, radiocontrast media, and cytostatics are the most important drugs to indicate AKI as significant risk factor in children. Direct pathophysiological mechanisms of nephrotoxicity include constriction of intrarenal vessels, acute tubular necrosis, acute interstitial nephritis, and—more infrequently—tubular obstruction. Furthermore, AKI may also be caused indirectly by rhabdomyolysis. Frequent therapeutic measures consist of avoiding dehydration and concomitant nephrotoxic medication, especially in children with preexisting impaired renal function.