Tayside and Central Scotland

NHS Tayside introduces new kidney injury warning system

AKI alert computer Image copyright NHS Tayside
Image caption The new electronic system flags up kidney injuries in patient files after blood tests

NHS Tayside has become the first health board in Scotland to introduce an electronic early-warning system to identify acute kidney injuries.

The system could help flag up damage to the kidneys at a much earlier stage, potentially improving survival rates and shortening hospital stays.

Doctors say one in five people in hospital is affected by acute kidney injury to some extent.

The system works by flagging up warning signs to clinicians after blood tests.

Messages are sent to computer systems holding patient results, clearly outlining to doctors the severity of the injury and information on the best course of action.

It means specialist staff from the renal team can be brought in swiftly if expert intervention is required.

'Avoidable damage'

Consultant renal physician Dr Samira Bell said: "Acute kidney injury affects one in five people in hospital. People who develop acute kidney injury may have a shorter life expectancy and are more likely to develop problems with their kidneys in the long term.

"There are currently no treatments available for acute kidney injury and patients are dialysed in severe cases to support the kidneys once they have failed completely.

"This is why prevention and early identification of acute kidney injury is vital.

"By introducing these early warning alerts which flag-up indications of kidney injury to staff at a much earlier stage, we hope to reduce the number of patients experiencing avoidable kidney damage."

The kidneys provide a wide range of vital functions including removing waste and water from blood, balancing chemicals in the body, releasing hormones, helping to control blood pressure and helping to produce red blood cells.

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