Acute Kidney Injury in the Tropics: Epidemiology, Presentation, Etiology, Specific Diseases, and Treatment

  • Sreejith Parameswaran
  • Vivekanand JhaEmail author


The characteristics of AKI are significantly influenced by the setting in which it develops. The unique characteristics in the tropical ecosystem along with the prevailing socioeconomic circumstances in the region make AKI in the tropics different regarding etiology, clinical characteristics, and outcomes. Community-acquired AKI caused by infections; animal, plant, or chemical toxins; and obstetric complications are common in the tropics, compared to predominantly hospital-acquired AKI from sepsis and diagnostic and therapeutic interventions elsewhere. It is possible to discern certain distinct “AKI syndromes” in the tropics, like febrile illness with AKI, envenomation-related AKI, and obstetric AKI, where the patients develop AKI along with a typical constellation of clinical features, allowing more specific and quick diagnostic and therapeutic approach. Changes in disease epidemiology and ongoing socioeconomic transitions in the tropics are reflected in changing epidemiology of tropical AKI. While the incidence of obstetric AKI has shown a steady decline, HIV-associated AKI emerged as a significant entity in regions where HIV was endemic in the past few decades. There is better recognition of scrub typhus as a significant contributor to AKI with availability of better diagnostic techniques, and it is well recognized that the epidemiology of AKI associated with post-infectious glomerulonephritis is different in the tropics. Rapid urbanization has made large swaths of population susceptible to emerging infections like dengue fever, with increased incidence of AKI. Climate change and scarcity of potable water are expected to pose significant challenges to kidney health in the tropics in the future. However, community-acquired AKI in the tropics also presents a unique opportunity for prevention of AKI, and attendant morbidity and mortality as most of the contributing factors can be addressed by public health interventions and innovative strategies to deliver healthcare.


Acute kidney injury Tropics Community-acquired AKI Lower middle-income countries Plant and animal toxins AKI syndromes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NephrologyJawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and ResearchPondicherryIndia
  2. 2.George Institute for Global Health IndiaNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.George Institute for Global HealthUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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