Skip to main content

Factors affecting mortality from acute renal failure in the ICU

Acute renal failure (ARF) in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is perceived as associated with a high mortality. We retrospectively analysed the RIPUG database of 26,689 patients admitted to 21 ICUs in the UK between June 1989 and September 1996. The incidence of ARF was 9%. Patients who were admitted with ARF (n = 1393) had a lower mortality than those who developed ARF (n = 1001) during their stay in the ICU (40.8% versus 50.7%, P < 0.001). We determined the maximum number and specific combinations of organ failures (OF) at any time and the number and specific combinations within 48 hours of death or discharge and the associated outcomes (Table). The mortality rates of all patients with any single, two or three OFs served as references for comparison with the mortality rates of specific types or combinations. Forty-four percent of patients who died in the ICU had a serum creatinine of < 200 μmol/l.


Patients with ARF alone had a significantly lower mortality than patients with any other single OF. This superior outcome was abolished when ARF occurred in combination with other failed organ systems. The majority of patients die with ARF rather than from ARF.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ostermann, M., Chang, R. & for the Riyadh ICU Program Users Group (RIPUG). Factors affecting mortality from acute renal failure in the ICU. Crit Care 6 (Suppl 1), P183 (2002).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: