About 50 cases of leptospirosis are diagnosed each year in the United Kingdom, with an overall mortality of 5%. Renal failure, in association with jaundice, is commonly held responsible for this figure. Over a period of 18 years, 6 cases of leptospirosis complicated by renal failure were treated at the Royal Air Force Renal Unit; there were 4 survivors. The 2 deaths occurred before the unit policy of daily haemodialysis and total parenteral nutrition, and were both from haemorrhagic complications. The authors believe that patients with leptospirosis and progressive renal impairment should be managed in renal units experienced in the management of the hypercatabolic patient, and that this should improve their prognosis.
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