Acute kidney injury in the newborn: the role of the perinatal pathologist


neonatal acute kidney injury
neonatal intensive care unit
perinatal pathologist
neonatal kidney

How to Cite

Fanni, D., Fanos, V., Gerosa, C., Sanna, A., Van Eyken, P., Cataldi, L., & Faa, G. (2014). Acute kidney injury in the newborn: the role of the perinatal pathologist. Journal of Pediatric and Neonatal Individualized Medicine (JPNIM), 3(2), e030262.


Neonatal acute kidney injury (AKI), that becomes acute renal failure (when renal replacement is needed), represents a common clinical problem in critically ill infants admitted to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) centers. This article is aimed at reviewing the most important histological renal changes generally considered typical of AKI, useful to confirm, at morphological level, the structural and cell lesions responsible for the clinical picture. In the first part a simple schematic approach to the elementary lesions of the developing kidney will be proposed, aimed to decipher the renal lesions. In the second part, the typical lesions of AKI in the neonate will be presented and discussed. In the final part, we’ll prospect the necessity for a more accurate microscopic analysis of the kidney in every neonate undergoing asphyxia or sepsis, in order to reveal subtle renal changes that might allow a pathological diagnosis of AKI even in newborns in which the clinical and laboratory pictures were not representative of a severe kidney damage. Finally, the role of the clinical-pathological discussion between the pathologist and the neonatologist will be underlined, in order to reach a final diagnosis, based on the clinical history, the laboratory findings, and the histological lesions. In this article, the role of the pathologist in the evaluation of a neonatal kidney in a newborn with the clinical diagnosis of AKI is described, with particular attention to the differences existing between the preterm and the at term kidney, focusing on the differentiation between developmental changes occurring in the kidney in the perinatal period and the histological lesions induced by pathological events occurring around birth.


Proceedings of the International Course on Perinatal Pathology (part of the 10th International Workshop on Neonatology · October 22nd-25th, 2014) · Cagliari (Italy) · October 25th, 2014 · The role of the clinical pathological dialogue in problem solving

Guest Editors: Gavino Faa, Vassilios Fanos, Peter Van Eyken