Acute kidney injury is more common in men than women after accounting for socioeconomic status, ethnicity, alcohol intake and smoking history

Charalampos Loutradis, Luke Pickup, Jonathan P Law, Indranil Dasgupta, Jonathan N Townend, Paul Cockwell, Adnan Sharif, Pantelis Sarafidis, Charles J Ferro

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BACKGROUND: The association of several comorbidities, including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart failure and chronic kidney or liver disease, with acute kidney injury (AKI) is well established. Evidence on the effect of sex and socioeconomic factors are scarce. This study was designed to examine the association of sex and socioeconomic factors with AKI and AKI-related mortality and further to evaluate the additional relationship with other possible risk factors for AKI occurrence.

METHODS: We included 3534 patients (1878 males with mean age 61.1 ± 17.7 and 1656 females 1656 with mean age 60.3 ± 20.0 years) admitted to Queen Elizabeth or Heartlands Hospitals, Birmingham, between October 2013 and January 2016. Patients were prospectively followed-up for a median 47.70 [IQR, 18.20] months. Study-endpoints were incidence of AKI, based on KDIGO-AKI Guidelines, and all-cause mortality. Data acquisition was automated, and information on mortality was collected from the Hospital Episode Statistics and Office of National Statistics. Socioeconomic status was evaluated with the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

RESULTS: Incidence of AKI was higher in men compared to women (11.3% vs 7.1%; P < 0.001). Model regression analysis revealed significant association of male sex with higher AKI risk (OR, 1.659; 95% CI, 1.311-2.099; P < 0.001); this association remained significant after adjustment for age, eGFR, IMD, smoking, alcohol consumption, ethnicity, existing comorbidities and treatment (OR, 1.599; 95% CI, 1.215-2.103; P = 0.001). All-cause mortality was higher in patients with compared to those without AKI. Males with AKI had higher mortality rates in the first 6-month and 1-year periods after the index AKI event. The association of male sex with mortality was independent of socioeconomic factors but was not statistically significant after adjustment for existing comorbidities.

CONCLUSIONS: Men are at higher risk of AKI and this association is independent from existing risk factors for AKI. The association between male sex and AKI-related mortality was not independent from existing comorbidities. A better understanding of factors associated with AKI may help accurately identify high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalBiology of sex differences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2021


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