Decongestion, kidney injury and prognosis in patients with acute heart failure

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International journal of cardiology


BACKGROUND: In patients with acute heart failure (AHF), the development of worsening renal function with appropriate decongestion is thought to be a benign functional change and not associated with poor prognosis. We investigated whether the benefit of decongestion outweighs the risk of concurrent kidney tubular damage and leads to better outcomes.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed data from the AKINESIS study, which enrolled AHF patients requiring intravenous diuretic therapy. Urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) were serially measured during the hospitalization. Decongestion was defined as ≥30% BNP decrease at discharge compared to admission. Univariable and multivariable Cox models were assessed for one-year mortality.

RESULTS: Among 736 patients, 53% had ≥30% BNP decrease at discharge. Levels of uNGAL and BNP at each collection time point had positive but weak correlations (r ≤ 0.133). Patients without decongestion and with higher discharge uNGAL values had worse one-year mortality, while those with decongestion had better outcomes regardless of uNGAL values (p for interaction 0.018). This interaction was also significant when the change in BNP was analyzed as a continuous variable (p < 0.001). Although higher peak and discharge uNGAL were associated with mortality in univariable analysis, only ≥30% BNP decrease was a significant predictor after multivariable adjustment.

CONCLUSIONS: Among AHF patients treated with diuretic therapy, decongestion was generally not associated with kidney tubular damage assessed by uNGAL. Kidney tubular damage with adequate decongestion does not impact outcomes; however, kidney injury without adequate decongestion is associated with a worse prognosis.

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ePub ahead of print