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Acute kidney injury and 'nephrotoxins': mind your language

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Charlie Tomson


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© Royal College of Physicians 2018. All rights reserved. The introduction of the term 'acute kidney injury' (AKI) along with an international classification scheme,1 caused some initial confusion, but most clinicians and many patients now understand that the term 'injury' denotes damage to the internal workings of the kidney, rather than physical trauma. However, of greater concern is the use of the term 'nephrotoxic' to include drugs that are, in most settings, nephroprotective. We argue that this imprecise terminology, unfortunately adopted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) among others, is potentially harmful, and that the terms 'nephrotoxin' and 'nephrotoxic' should not be used to describe haemodynamically mediated and fully reversible effects of some drugs on excretory function.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones M, Tomson C

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Medicine

Year: 2018

Volume: 18

Issue: 5

Pages: 384-386

Print publication date: 01/10/2018

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 1470-2118

ISSN (electronic): 1473-4893

Publisher: NLM (Medline)


DOI: 10.7861/clinmedicine.18-5-384

PubMed id: 30287431