Acute kidney injury (AKI) in critically ill children and adults is associated with significant short- and long-term morbidity and mortality. As serum creatinine- and urine output-based definitions of AKI have relevant limitations, there is a persistent need for better diagnostics of AKI. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy allows for analysis of metabolic profiles without extensive sample manipulations. In the study reported here, we examined the diagnostic accuracy of NMR urine metabolite patterns for the diagnosis of neonatal and pediatric AKI according to the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) definition. A cohort of 65 neonatal and pediatric patients (0–18 years) with established AKI of heterogeneous etiology was compared to both a group of apparently healthy children (n
53) and a group of critically ill children without AKI (n
31). Multivariate analysis identified a panel of four metabolites that allowed diagnosis of AKI with an area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC-ROC) of 0.95 (95% confidence interval 0.86–1.00). Especially urinary citrate levels were significantly reduced whereas leucine and valine levels were elevated. Metabolomic differentiation of AKI causes appeared promising but these results need to be validated in larger studies. In conclusion, this study shows that NMR spectroscopy yields high diagnostic accuracy for AKI in pediatric patients.
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