Nephrotoxic medication exposure represents a common cause of acute kidney injury (nephrotoxin-AKI) in hospitalized children. Systematic serum creatinine (SCr) screening has not been routinely performed in children receiving nephrotoxins, potentially leading to underestimating nephrotoxin-AKI rates. We aimed to accurately determine nephrotoxin exposure and nephrotoxin-AKI rates to drive appropriate interventions in non–critically ill hospitalized children.


We conducted a prospective quality improvement project implementing a systematic electronic health record (EHR) screening and decision support process (trigger) at a single quaternary pediatric hospital. Patients were all noncritically ill hospitalized children receiving an intravenous aminoglycoside for ≥3 days or ≥3 nephrotoxins simultaneously (exposure). Pharmacists recommended daily SCr monitoring in exposed patients. AKI was defined by the modified pediatric Risk, Injury, Failure, Loss and End-stage Renal Disease criteria (≥25% decrease in estimated creatinine clearance). We developed 4 novel metrics: exposure rate per 1000 patient-days, AKI rate per 1000 patient-days, AKI rate (%) per high nephrotoxin admission, and AKI days per 100 exposure days (AKI intensity).


This study included 21 807 patients accounting for 27 711 admissions. A total of 726 (3.3%) unique exposed patients accounted for 945 hospital admissions (6713 patient-days). AKI occurred in 25% of unique exposed patients and 31% of exposure admissions (1974 patient-days). Our EHR-driven SCr nephrotoxin-AKI surveillance process was associated with a 42% reduction in AKI intensity.


Nephrotoxin-AKI rates are high in noncritically ill children; systematic screening for nephrotoxic medication exposure and AKI detection was accomplished reliably through an EHR based trigger tool.

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