A 10-year retrospective analysis has been carried out of 114 patients dialysed for acute renal failure. Fifty-eight patients, predominantly suffering from multiple organ failure, required treatment in an Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU); 56 less severely ill patients were treated in a Renal Unit. Overall survival in the former group was 36% and in the latter group 63%. In the first 5 years of the study, survival in the ITU patients was 31% and in the second 5 years, was 38% in spite of a trend towards increased severity of illness. These results challenge the view that haemodialysis is rarely worth-while in patients with multiple organ failure, and suggest that current management techniques have improved prognosis. The most important adverse factors continue to be old age, sepsis and gastrointestinal disease.
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