This study aimed to assess the predictors of acute kidney injury (AKI) during colistin therapy in a cohort of patients with bloodstream infections (BSI) due to colistin-susceptible Gram-negative bacteria, focusing on the role of serum albumin levels. The study consisted of two parts: (1) a multicentre retrospective clinical study to assess the predictors of AKI during colistin therapy, defined according to the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) criteria; and (2) bioinformatic and biochemical characterization of the possible interaction between human serum albumin and colistin. Among the 170 patients included in the study, 71 (42%), 35 (21%), and 11 (6%) developed KDIGO stage 1 (K1-AKI), KDIGO stage 2 (K2-AKI), and KDIGO stage 3 (K3-AKI), respectively. In multivariable analyses, serum albumin <2.5 g/dL was independently associated with K1-AKI (subdistribution hazard ratio [sHR] 1.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17–2.93, p = 0.009) and K2-AKI (sHR 2.37, 95% CI 1.15–4.87, p = 0.019). Bioinformatic and biochemical analyses provided additional information nurturing the discussion on how hypoalbuminemia favors development of AKI during colistin therapy. In conclusion, severe hypoalbuminemia independently predicted AKI during colistin therapy in a large cohort of patients with BSI due to colistin-susceptible Gram-negative bacteria. Further study is needed to clarify the underlying causal pathways.
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