Risk assessment for renal injury post aortic surgery using new and more sensitive markers of renal injury.
Pillay, Woolagasen Ramalingham.
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Renal failure in patients undergoing Aortic surgery is associated with a poor outcome. The shortcomings of serum creatinine for measuring renal function are well documented. We examined the value of alternative markers in diagnosing and predicting renal damage in patients undergoing abdominal aortic surgery and those exposed to intravascular contrast media. Cystatin C lacks some of the reservations associated with serum creatinine when used as a marker of glomerular filtration rate. The protease inhibitor alpha-glutathione Stransferase (a-GST) is recovered in urine after injury to proximal tubular cells. Urine microalbumin is a marker of glomerular permeability. Together we used all four assays to detect and characterize the nature of renal injury after surgery and contrast exposure. Cystatin C had a marginally better sensitivity than serum creatinine at detecting baseline renal impairment. It also showed earlier changes in individual patients whose renal dysfunction deteriorated over time. The urinary markers showed an earlier significant rise after the onset of surgery when compared to serum markers, but only a-GST rose significantly after contrast exposure. Patients undergoing a supra-renal cross-clamp showed significantly higher a-GST levels (and not the other three markers) when compared to the infra-renal group. Cystatin C appears to have better sensitivity and specificity for predicting the need for dialysis in patients undergoing surgery. Peak serum creatinine and cystatin C after contrast exposure show good correlation with peak values after surgery. Cystatin C is equivalent to and may be better than serum creatinine in detecting preexisting and deteriorating renal impairment. Although the urinary assays are earlier markers of renal injury, their clinical significance needs to be determined. Elevation in creatinine and cystatin C after contrast exposure parallel those after surgical intervention and may be helpful in selecting out high-risk patients prior to surgery.