Thoracic Surgery| Volume 287, P72-81, July 2023

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Acute Kidney Injury After General Thoracic Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Published:March 02, 2023DOI:



      The clinical importance of postoperative acute kidney injury (AKI) in patients undergoing general thoracic surgery is unclear. We aimed to systematically review the incidence, risk factors, and prognostic implications of AKI as a complication after general thoracic surgery.


      We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library from January 2004 to September 2021. Observational or interventional studies that enrolled ≥50 patients undergoing general thoracic surgery and reported postoperative AKI defined using contemporary consensus criteria were included for meta-analysis.


      Thirty-seven articles reporting 35 unique cohorts were eligible. In 29 studies that enrolled 58,140 consecutive patients, the pooled incidence of postoperative AKI was 8.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.2-10.0). The incidence was 3.8 (2.0-6.2) % after sublobar resection, 6.7 (4.1-9.9) % after lobectomy, 12.1 (8.1-16.6) % after bilobectomy/pneumonectomy, and 10.5 (5.6-16.7) % after esophagectomy. Considerable heterogeneity in reported incidences of AKI was observed across studies. Short-term mortality was higher (unadjusted risk ratio: 5.07, 95% CI: 2.99-8.60) and length of hospital stay was longer (weighted mean difference: 3.53, 95% CI: 2.56-4.49, d) in patients with postoperative AKI (11 studies, 28,480 patients). Several risk factors for AKI after thoracic surgery were identified.


      AKI occurs frequently after general thoracic surgery and is associated with increased short-term mortality and length of hospital stay. For patients undergoing general thoracic surgery, AKI may be an important postoperative complication that needs early risk evaluation and mitigation.


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