Thousands could be dying because of NHS kidney failures
The NHS has revealed that thousands of people die every year because of kidney failure due to dehydration.
They estimated that 42,000 deaths could be avoided if the hospital staff simply ensured that the patients had enough to drink. The condition, commonly called acute kidney injury (AKI), is well-known but it is still not correctly diagnosed by many GPs and nurses all over the UK.
AKI is more common in people over 65 and may occur to those having a heart condition, diabetes or who suffer infections. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released a new guide in order to help GPs, nurses and the hospital staff spot the sign of AKI. The guide also highlights how easy it is to prevent thousands of deaths if the patients are kept hydrated and their medication reviewed.
According to NICE, the condition costs the NHS between £434 million and £620 million a year.
Dr Mark Thomas, chair of the new guideline development group and nephrologist at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: “AKI has been something of a Cinderella condition in the past both within healthcare and in the public perception, yet it kills more people than any of the common cancers.”
In the past, according to Dr Thomas, people have tended to seek the help of a range of non-specialists who hardly managed to spot the symptoms of the condition. Nowadays, the symptoms can be easily noticed thanks to blood tests and urine measurement, both of which are standard practice.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE, stated that the acute kidney injury is still a “huge problem” for the NHS, but added that the situation has begun to improve in the last few years.
Back in 2009, when the problem arose for the first time, a report of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death found that only half of all AKI patients had been given a good level of care.