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J Am Soc Nephrol. 1999 Nov;10(11):2396-402.

Acute renal failure after cardiopulmonary bypass in related to decreased serum ferritin levels.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


Acute renal failure (ARF) requiring dialysis occurs in up to 4% of patients after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). CPB leads to the generation of intravascular free hemoglobin, resulting in increased endothelial and renal tubular cell free iron, which is associated with renal injury. Conversely, renoprotection is conferred by processes that upregulate heme and iron sequestration pathways, such as ferritin. This study evaluates the influence of free hemoglobin generation during CPB and the capacity to sequester free iron on the occurrence of post-CPB renal insufficiency. Thirty consecutive patients undergoing CPB were enrolled in the study. Serum creatinine, free hemoglobin, and ferritin were measured preoperatively, at the end of bypass, and 24 and 48 h after surgery. Renal injury, as determined by an increase in the serum creatinine of > or =25% (ARF) by 48 h after surgery, occurred in 40% (12 of 30) of patients, and dialysis was necessary in 6.6% (2 of 30). Free hemoglobin levels increased in all patients but did not correlate with postoperative ARF. However, patients with preoperative serum ferritin levels < or =130 microg/L, the median value for the group, had a sixfold greater likelihood of developing ARF compared to patients with levels above this value (P = 0.03). Lower serum ferritin levels appear to be associated with the development of ARF. Serum ferritin levels may signify intravascular as well as endothelial and renal epithelial cell ability to bind free iron generated during CPB-induced hemolysis, and thus may help provide information regarding the risk for ARF.

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