PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To describe the effect of ageing on kidney function and to summarize the benefits of advocated measures to prevent perioperative acute kidney injury (AKI) in elderly patients. RECENT FINDINGS: Given a reduced renal reserve and the burden of comorbidities, the senescent kidney is susceptible to develop perioperative AKI and is less able to recover when injury occurs. Current evidence suggests that preoperative statin therapy, tight glycemic control or urine alkalinization with bicarbonate do not protect the kidneys from harm. The theoretical kidney protective effect of preoperative aspirin therapy or renal vasodilatation with atrial natriuretic peptide or fenoldopam is only supported by low-quality evidence that needs further evaluation. Although questions regarding the amount and timing of fluid resuscitation during surgery are seeking answers in ongoing multicenter studies, the harmful effect of hydroxyethyl starches (HES) and hyperchloremic solutions is now surrounded by strong evidence. SUMMARY: The future increase in elderly patients being exposed to surgery calls for improved perioperative management to prevent collaterally increased AKI. Although pharmacological therapies aiming to protect the kidneys from harm are under evaluation, hemodynamic optimization and avoidance of nephrotoxic drugs, including HES and hyperchloremic solutions, are critical for the elderly perioperative patient.