UC Nephrology director addresses acute kidney injury as journal guest editor


Charuhas Thakar, MD, professor and director of the Division of Nephrology, Kidney CARE (Clinical Advancement, Research and Education) Program in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine is featured as the guest editor for the July 2017 edition of the Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease (ACKD) Journal, a journal of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).

In September 2016, Thakar was invited by Jerry Yee, MD, the editor-in-chief of ACKD, to be the guest editor for an upcoming issue of the journal which is published bi-monthly. Thakar developed a theme focusing on acute kidney injury (AKI), an acute worsening of kidney function when a patient is seriously ill.

"AKI affects one in three hospitalizations, and is associated with high morbidity and mortality in these patients," says Thakar. "Typically, AKI occurs from a variety of biological reasons including heart failure, liver failure, hypoperfusion and low blood pressure. Approximately 30 percent of AKI occurs in perioperative settings as different types of surgeries can result into a stress or an insult to the kidneys leading to kidney dysfunction."

One of the major challenges in treating AKI, according to Thakar, is that a "silver bullet" treatment for AKI doesn't exist. He says there have been many trials recently showing treatments and strategies that are not effective, prompting him to take a more proactive look at this issue to either prevent AKI or to mitigate its severity.

"Instead of saying which trials haven't worked, I wanted people to think about what are renal safe options while we deliver complex care to patients in 2017," Thakar says.

Thakar reached out to a variety of experts in the nephrology community to contribute to the journal, requesting that they approach the AKI topic with his viewpoint in mind. The July issue of ACKD features 10 articles written by 11 authors selected by Thakar and Yee, covering a wide range of issues around AKI.

"I was very careful in choosing the authors," says Thakar. "They either had to be someone who has written a large amount of work on that topic, or has a position or a title that has strong credibility associated with the topic."

Thakar, who also wrote the issue's editorial, "Acute Kidney Injury: A Paradigm in Quality and Patient Safety," says he is confident that his goal of taking a patient-centric view of AKI from a "30,000 foot" perspective was met.

"I wanted to highlight to the nephrology community through this issue that we need to not simply view it as a disease that impacts the patient but also as a systems quality issue that actually affects the health care system in general," Thakar says. "So the entire health care system either suffers or does really well if your culture and processes are geared toward having fewer patients develop AKI."


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