RIFLE Criteria Accurately Identifies Renal Dysfunction and Renal Failure in Elderly Patients with Upper Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage: A Pilot Study

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The incidence of acute kidney injury (AKI) as a complication of acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding (AUGIB) is not known. Recently, RIFLE criteria were used widely in the medical research to identify patients with different degrees of renal insufficiency.


Our purpose is to determine the incidence, clinical presentations, endoscopic findings and outcomes of AKI in the elderly presenting with AUGIB using RIFLE criteria. The study was conducted in a community hospital in Washington State. This was a retrospective pilot study of elderly patients (≥60 years old) presenting with AUGIB. Categorical variables were analyzed using the Chi-square test. The Student t-test was used to compare continuous variables. A total of 113 patients were included (52 males and 61 females) in the study. The patients were classified into those with AKI based on RIFLE criteria and those without. The two groups were compared in regard to clinical presentations, laboratory and endoscopic findings, complications, length and cost of hospitalization.


Fifty five patients (48.7%) met RIFLE criteria for AKI, while 58 patients did not develop any renal dysfunction. Patients with AUGIB complicated with AKI tend to be residents at nursing homes (38% vs. 14%, P < 0.004), present with weakness (49% vs 29%., P < 0.04) and altered mental status (25% vs. 55%, P < 0.003), have higher serum creatinine at presentation (1.8 mg/dL vs. 1.2 mg/dL, P < 0.002), have less incidence of gastritis/gastric ulcers (67% vs. 42%, P < 0.007), have nondiagnostic upper endoscopic examination (29% vs. 14%, P < 0.05), higher incidences of cardiac complications including myocardial infarction (9% and 0%, P < 0.02), longer lengths of stay (5.0 days vs. 2.37 days, P < 0.005) and higher hospitalization costs ($20,230 vs. $11,779, P < 0.02).


The incidence of developing AKI as a consequence of AUGIB in the elderly is very common. Those with AKI tend to have a more complicated clinical course in the hospital.

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