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Acute renal failure and cardiac surgery.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Universit√† Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.


Acute renal failure (ARF) is s a major complication after cardiac surgery and its prevalence still remains high. Even minor changes in serum creatinine are related to an increase morbidity and mortality. Recently two consensus conferences have suggested new diagnostic criteria to define acute kidney injury and risk scores to better identify patients who will probably develop ARF after cardiac surgery. In fact a prompt recognition of high risk patients could allow a more aggressive therapy at a reversible stage of an incoming ARF. To date prophylactic strategies of renal function preservation during surgery include the avoidance of nephrotoxic insult and the prevention or correction of renal hypoperfusion. Although there are still no pharmacological agents able to prevent the perioperative ARF, several trials are investigating new pharmacological approaches. When prophylactic strategies fail and severe ARF occurs, renal replacement therapy becomes mandatory. The timing and the kind of renal replacement therapy remain an open issue. Further randomized case-control studies with adequate statistical power are needed to have more conclusive data. Aim of this paper is to start from the acute renal injury physiopathology to analyze the most common prophylactic and pharmacological strategies.


acute kidney injury; acute renal failure; cardiac surgery; renal replacement therapy

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