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Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2005;28 Suppl 2:S12-8.

Reducing the risks for contrast-induced nephropathy.

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  • 1University of Trieste, Department of Radiology, Ospedale di Cattinara, Strada di Fiume -34149, Trieste, Italy.


Contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) is one of the most serious adverse events associated with the use of contrast media (CM). Patients who develop this complication can have increased morbidity, higher rates of mortality, lengthy hospital stays, and poor long-term outcomes. Although CIN cannot be eliminated, the chances of developing this condition can be reduced by using appropriate prevention strategies. An important first step to reduce the chance of CIN is to identify risk factors associated with this condition. Patients with a previously elevated serum creatinine level, especially when secondary to diabetic nephropathy, are at great risk for developing CIN. Other patient-related risk factors include concurrent use of nephrotoxic medications, dehydration, congestive heart failure, age greater than 70 years, and probably the presence of diabetes mellitus even if serum creatinine is normal. Adequate hydration is widely accepted as an important prophylactic measure for preventing CIN, but the optimal hydration regimen is still debatable. The risk of CIN increases with greater doses of CM, as well as with the type of CM used. A high-osmolar CM poses a greater risk of CIN than does a low-osmolar CM and, as recent but limited data suggest, the use of an isoosmolar CM is less nephrotoxic than a low-osmolar CM in patients with renal impairment following intra-arterial procedures, although this finding needs to be verified in future clinical studies. Pharmacologic agents such as calcium channel blockers, dopamine, atrial natriuretic peptide, fenoldopam, prostaglandin El, and endothelin receptor antagonist have not been proven effective against CIN development. Controversies still exist on the possible effectiveness of theophylline and N-acetylcysteine. Simple strategies for the prevention of CIN in at-risk patients are reviewed and unproven interventions are discussed.

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