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BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2012 Feb 17;12:8. doi: 10.1186/1471-2261-12-8.

Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) predicts renal injury in acute decompensated cardiac failure: a prospective observational study.

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  • 1Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, WA6000, Australia.



Acute Decompensated Cardiac Failure (ADCF) is frequently associated with deterioration in renal function. Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) is an early marker of kidney injury. We aimed to determine if NGAL measured at admission predicts in-hospital acute kidney injury (AKI) in ADCF.


A prospective observational study measured NGAL and B-natriuretic peptide (BNP) from patients with ADCF presenting to two tertiary hospitals. Patients received standard care and were followed up daily as inpatients. ADCF was defined by PRIDE score ≥ 6 and AKI by RIFLE criteria.


One hundred and two patients (median age 80, IQR 69-84 years, 52% male) were enrolled. AKI developed in 22 (25%) of 90 for whom outcome data was available. Seven patients died. NGAL was significantly elevated in those who developed AKI versus those who did not (median 130 ng/ml vs 69 ng/ml, p = 0.002). NGAL was also higher in those who died (median 136 ng/ml vs 68 ng/ml, p = 0.005). AKI was significantly associated with risk of death (5/22 (23%) vs 1/68 (1.5%), p = 0.001), but not length of hospital stay. NGAL significantly correlated with admission eGFR but not BNP. For prediction of AKI, NGAL > 89 ng/ml had sensitivity of 68% and specificity of 70% with area under the receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.71 (0.58-0.84). After adjustment for baseline renal function, the odds ratio (OR) for AKI was 3.73 (1.26-11.01) if admission NGAL > 89 ng/ml.


Elevated NGAL at admission is associated with in-hospital AKI and mortality in patients with ADCF. However, it has only moderate diagnostic accuracy in this setting.

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