Background The development of acute kidney injury (AKI) after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is associated with increased short- and long-term mortality. Whether AKI has a causal relationship with subsequent mortality or whether the development of AKI simply occurs in patients with more comorbidity undergoing more complex procedures remains unresolved. Methods and Results This was an observational cohort study of prospectively collected data from 4694 patients discharged from the hospital after first-time CABG surgery at a tertiary cardiac center between 2003 and 2008. AKI was defined using the Risk, Injury, Failure, Loss, and End stage (RIFLE) criteria, which require at least a 50% increase in serum creatinine. The primary outcome measure was all-cause mortality determined via UK Office of National Statistics. A total of 562 (12.0%) of patients developed AKI after CABG surgery. Patients who developed AKI were older, more likely to be female, and had more comorbidity than patients who did not develop AKI. In a Cox multivariable analysis, the development of AKI was an independent predictor of midterm mortality (hazard ratio, 1.80; 95% confidence interval, 1.50-2.16). Subsequently, a comparison of 562 patients who sustained AKI with 562 propensity score–matched patients who did not sustain AKI was undertaken. After propensity matching, baseline clinical and operative characteristics were similar between both groups. After Cox multivariable analysis of the propensity-matched cohort, AKI remained an independent predictor of midterm mortality (hazard ratio, 1.52; 95% confidence interval, 1.19-1.93). Conclusions The development of AKI after CABG is a serious event associated with worse midterm survival. This excess mortality cannot be explained simply by coexisting comorbidity and surgical complexity.