Clinical and subclinical acute kidney injury in children with mild-to-moderate COVID-19

SAYGILI S. K., CANPOLAT N., Cicek R. Y., Agbas A., Yilmaz E. K., KILINÇ SAKALLI A. A., ...More

PEDIATRIC RESEARCH, vol.93, no.3, pp.654-660, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 93 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41390-022-02124-6
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.654-660
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Background Our aim was to identify acute kidney injury (AKI) and subacute kidney injury using both KDIGO criteria and urinary biomarkers in children with mild/moderate COVID-19. Methods This cross-sectional study included 71 children who were hospitalized with a diagnosis of COVID-19 from 3 centers in Istanbul and 75 healthy children. We used a combination of functional (serum creatinine) and damage (NGAL, KIM-1, and IL-18) markers for the definition of AKI and subclinical AKI. Clinical and laboratory features were evaluated as predictors of AKI and subclinical AKI. Results Patients had significantly higher levels of urinary biomarkers and urine albumin-creatinine ratio than healthy controls (p < 0.001). Twelve patients (16.9%) developed AKI based on KDIGO criteria, and 22 patients (31%) had subclinical AKI. AKI group had significantly higher values of neutrophil count on admission than both subclinical AKI and non-AKI groups (p < 0.05 for all). Neutrophil count was independently associated with the presence of AKI (p = 0.014). Conclusions This study reveals that even children with a mild or moderate disease course are at risk for AKI. Association between neutrophil count and AKI may point out the role of inflammation in the development of AKI. Impact The key message of our article is that not only children with severe disease but also children with mild or moderate disease have an increased risk for kidney injury due to COVID-19. Urinary biomarkers enable the diagnosis of a significant number of patients with subclinical AKI in patients without elevation in serum creatinine. Our findings reveal that patients with high neutrophil count may be more prone to develop AKI and should be followed up carefully. We conclude that even children with mild or moderate COVID-19 disease courses should be evaluated for AKI and subclinical AKI, which may improve patient outcomes.