• To identify factors that may explain the persistently high mortality of acute renal failure (ARF), we compared the cause, clinical course, and outcome of 55 consecutive patients with ARF who underwent hemodialysis (HD) from 1962 to 1969 with 46 similar patients from 1979 to 1981 at the same medical center. We noted an overall increase in mortality from 54.5% to 71.7%. There was an increase in the number of elderly patients developing ARF, but age per se did not influence survival. There was a significant increase in mortality in younger patients resulting from the severity of their underlying illness. We saw an increase in the number of complicating factors occurring at the onset of ARF that correlated with the increase in mortality. In survivors ARF was more prolonged in our most recent experience. The development of prolonged, complicated ARF and the poor survival seen in younger patients led to the increase in mortality in our patients.
(Arch Intern Med 1986;146:1338-1341)