Background Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease endemic to several countries including Ethiopia. Outside of Africa, kidney involvement in VL is frequent and associated with increased mortality. There is however limited data on acute kidney injury (AKI) in VL patients in East-Africa, particularly in areas with high rates of HIV co-infection. This study aims to determine the prevalence, characteristics and associated factors of AKI in VL patients in Northwest Ethiopia.
Methods A hospital based retrospective patient record analysis was conducted including patients treated for VL from January 2019 to December 2019 at the Leishmaniasis Research and Treatment Center (LRTC), Gondar, Ethiopia. Patients that were enrolled in ongoing clinical trials at the study site and those with significant incomplete data were excluded. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 20. P values were considered significant if <0.05.
Results Among 352 VL patients treated at LRTC during the study period, 298 were included in the study. All were male patients except two; the median age was 23 years (IQR: 20-27). The overall prevalence of AKI among VL patients was 17.4% (confidence interval (CI): 13.6%-22.2%). Pre-renal azotemia (57%) and drug-induced AKI (50%) were the main etiologies of AKI at admission and post-admission respectively. Proteinuria and hematuria occurred in 85% and 42% of AKI patients respectively. Multivariate logistic regression revealed HIV co-infection (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 6.01 95% CI: 1.99-18.27, p = 0.001) and other concomitant infections (AOR: 3.44 95% CI: 1.37-8.65, p = 0.009) to be independently associated with AKI.
Conclusion AKI is a frequent complication in Ethiopian VL patients. Other renal manifestations included proteinuria, hematuria, and pyuria. HIV co-infection and other concomitant infections were significantly associated with AKI. Further studies are needed to quantify proteinuria and evaluate the influence of AKI on the treatment course, morbidity and mortality in VL patients.
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