, Volume 37, Issue 12, pp 1921-1931
Date: 03 Nov 2011

Epidemiology of contrast-associated acute kidney injury in ICU patients: a retrospective cohort analysis



Intensive care unit (ICU) patients frequently undergo contrast-enhanced radiographic examinations, which carries a risk for development of contrast-associated acute kidney injury (CA-AKI). Data on this in ICU patients are scarce. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the epidemiology and short- and long-term outcomes of CA-AKI in ICU patients.


A retrospective single-centre cohort study covering the period 1 March 2004 to 31 December 2008 on ICU patients who underwent a radiography examination with parenteral administration of iodinated radio contrast media was conducted. Data analysis included univariate and multivariate analyses of patients with and without CA-AKI.


A total of 787 ICU patients were included in the study. CA-AKI occurred in 128 (16.3%) and was associated with higher need for RRT [30 (4.6%) vs. 21 (16.4%), p < 0.001], worse kidney function at discharge, longer length of ICU and hospital stay, and higher 28-day and 1-year mortality [28-day: 86 (13.1%) vs. 46 (35.9%), p < 0.001, and 1-year: 158 (24.0%) vs. 71 (55.5%), p < 0.001]. Higher serum creatinine, lower mean arterial pressure, and administration of diuretics and vasoactive therapy were associated with development of CA-AKI in multivariate analysis.

After correction for confounders we found that CA-AKI was associated with 28-day mortality in this cohort of ICU patients (odds ratio = 2.742, 95% confidence interval 1.374–5.471).


CA-AKI occurred in one out of six ICU patients who underwent a contrast-enhanced radiography examination and was associated with both short-and long-term worse outcomes such as need for RRT, worse kidney function at discharge, increased length of stay in the ICU and hospital, and mortality.

This article is discussed in the editorial available at: doi:10.1007/s00134-011-2393-z.