Acute kidney injury (AKI) is common in patients undergoing cardiac surgery and is associated with a high rate of death, long-term sequelae and healthcare costs. We conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials for strategies to prevent or treat AKI in cardiac surgery.
We screened Medline, Scopus, Cochrane Renal Library, and Google Scholar for randomized controlled trails in cardiac surgery for prevention or treatment of AKI in adults.
We identified 70 studies that contained a total of 5,554 participants published until November 2008. Most studies were small in sample size, were single-center, focused on preventive strategies, and displayed wide variation in AKI definitions. Only 26% were assessed to be of high quality according to the Jadad criteria. The types of strategies with possible protective efficacy were dopaminergic agents, vasodilators, anti-inflammatory agents, and pump/perfusion strategies. When analyzed separately, dopamine and N-acetylcysteine did not reduce the risk for AKI.
This summary of all the literature on prevention and treatment strategies for AKI in cardiac surgery highlights the need for better information. The results advocate large, good-quality, multicenter studies to determine whether promising interventions reliably reduce rates of acute renal replacement therapy and mortality in the cardiac surgery setting.