Validating the utilisation of venous bicarbonate as a predictor of acute kidney injury in crush syndrome from sjambok injuries

  • D.L. Skinner
  • G.L. Laing
  • J Bruce
  • B Biccard
  • D.J.J. Muckart


Background. Crush injury secondary to sjambok beatings is a well-described phenomenon in southern Africa. Owing to a number of factors, it can result in acute kidney injury (AKI). In 1992, Muckart et al. described a risk stratification system using venous bicarbonate (VB) that can be used in the management of these patients.

Objective. To validate this score in the modern era of AKI risk stratification.

Methods. A retrospective study was performed on a local trauma database from June 2010 to December 2012. All patients with crush injury from sjambok/blunt instrument beatings were included in the analysis. VB was compared with the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes scoring system for AKI. Serum base excess (BE) and creatine kinase were also examined as biomarkers. The endpoints were the need for renal replacement therapy (RRT) and mortality.

Results. Three hundred and ten patients were included. The overall mortality rate was 1.9%, 14.8% of patients had AKI, and 3.9% required RRT. Both VB and BE performed well in RRT prediction, with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.847 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.756 - 0.938; p<0.001) and 0.871 (95% CI 0.795 - 0.947; p<0.001), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of BE were 83.3% and 80.2% at an optimal cut-point of –7.25 mmol/L, while those of VB were 83.3% and 79.5% at an optimal cut-point of 18.85 mmol/L. VB was significantly different across the AKI risk groups (p<0.001), in keeping with the original Muckart risk stratification system.

Conclusion. The risk stratification score using VB is valid and should continue to be used as a tool in the management of patients with sjambok injuries. BE performs well in predicting the need for RRT, with a value of <–7.25 mmol/L indicating severe injury.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135