Today’s number brought to you by Funeral Directors of New Zealand.
Kidney Attack (aka Acute Kidney Injury) is responsible for at least 1300 deaths a year in New Zealand. It used to be said that people died with Acute Kidney Injury rather than of Acute Kidney Injury. The paradigm has shifted in the last few years. Now it is recognised that an acute attack on the kidneys is a killer all by itself. Of course, the attack is still most often precipitated by another event – heart attack, serious infection, cardiac surgery etc etc etc.
How did I come up with 1300?
A comprehensive study of nearly 20,000 hospital admissions showed that there was a 4.1 times increase in risk of death in hospital for those with Kidney Attack compared to those without. The Ministry of Health in New Zealand do not report hospital mortality data, but a very helpful MOH information analyst, Chris Lewis (thanks Chris), dug out some numbers for me. There were 7582 patients out of 548,965 discharges from public hospitals in 2011/12 who were “Discharged Dead”, Died in the emergency department, or Discharged for organ donation. This does not necessarily capture all deaths (eg Private Hospitals are not included). However, it gives me enough to go on using the proportion who died overall, the increased odds of death with Kidney Attack (4.1), the estimated number of Kidney Attack patients (30,000), and a little bit of math. The result is at least 1300 Kidney Attack deaths.