Two Visits Are Better than One

Researchers find way to reduce risk of acute kidney injury in heart surgery patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Before someone goes through heart surgery doctors need to evaluate the heart's ability to pump blood. The test performed can be harmful to patients' kidneys. However, researchers found a way that may reduce the risk of kidney damage.

Patients' kidneys can get injured when cardiac catheterization (a test to examine blood flow) and heart surgery are done during the same period of time in the hospital. However, a study shows that patients can lower their risk of kidney injury if heart surgery is done during a separate hospital visit after cardiac catheterization.

"Two visits to the hospital may protect heart surgery patients' kidneys."

Robert S. Kramer, M.D., and colleagues followed 668 patients before and after heart surgery. Protecting the kidneys of heart surgery patients is important, as people with acute kidney injury have a higher risk of other health complications and death.

The researchers realize that their study does not show how much time there should be between cardiac catheterization and heart surgery.

Nevertheless, they are confident that waiting some amount of time between the two procedures will protect patients' kidneys from injury and other complications of heart surgery.

The Study

  • The researchers measured serum creatinine levels (a measure of kidney function) before surgery and during the two days after surgery
  • 50.2 percent of patients who had catheterization and surgery in the same hospital admission were affected by acute kidney injury
  • 33.7 percent of patients who had catheterization and heart surgery during different hospital admissions were affected by acute kidney injury
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Review Date: 
May 6, 2011
Last Updated:
May 10, 2011