BACKGROUND: Renal resistive index (RRI) is a promising tool for the assessment of acute kidney injury (AKI) in critically ill patients in general, but its role and association to AKI among patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not known .
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the pattern of RRI in relation to AKI in patients with COVID-19 treated in the intensive care unit .
METHODS: In this observational cohort study, RRI was measured in COVID-19 patients in six intensive care units at two sites of a Swedish University Hospital . AKI was defined by the creatinine criteria in the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes classification . We investigated the association between RRI and AKI diagnosis, different AKI stages and urine output .
RESULTS: RRI was measured in 51 patients, of which 23 patients (45 %) had AKI at the time of measurement . Median RRI in patients with AKI was 0.80 (IQR 0.71-0.85) compared to 0.72 (IQR 0.67-0.78) in patients without AKI (p = 0.004). Compared to patients without AKI, RRI was higher in patients with AKI stage 3 (median 0.83, IQR 0.71-0.85, p = 0.006) but not in patients with AKI stage 1 (median 0.76, IQR 0.71-0.83, p = 0.347) or AKI stage 2 (median 0.79, min/max 0.79/0.80, n = 2, p = 0.134). RRI was higher in patients with an ongoing AKI episode compared to patients who never developed AKI (median 0.72, IQR 0.69-0.78, p = 0.015) or patients who developed AKI but had recovered at the time of measurement (median 0.68, IQR 0.67-0.81, p = 0.021). Oliguric patients had higher RRI (median 0.84, IQR 0.83-0.85) compared to non-oliguric patients (median 0.74, IQR 0.69-0.81) (p = 0.009). After multivariable adjustment, RRI was independently associated with AKI (OR for 0.01 increments of RRI 1.22 , 95% CI 1.07-1.41).
CONCLUSIONS: Critically ill COVID-19 patients with AKI have higher RRI compared to those without AKI, and elevated RRI may have a role in identifying severe and oliguric AKI at the bedside in these patients.