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J Postgrad Med. 2002 Jan-Mar;48(1):64-70.

Prevention of postoperative acute renal failure.

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Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, College of Medicine, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.


Postoperative acute renal failure (PO-ARF) is a serious complication resulting in a prolonged stay and high mortality. Patients may be at risk for this problem because of an underlying medical illness, nature of surgery, nephrotoxin exposure, or combinations of these factors. An increase in the intra abdominal pressure above 20-mm Hg is associated with an increase in the incidence of PO-ARF. Based on many clinical studies in high-risk surgical patients and patients undergoing renal transplantation, the only proven management strategies for prevention of PO-ARF are adequate volume expansion and avoidance of hypovolaemia. Drugs known to be nephrotoxic should be avoided or used with caution. Three main pharmacological agents namely mannitol, frusemide and dopamine have been extensively tried in the prevention of PO-ARF. Mannitol has proven of value only in the presence of adequate volume expansion in attenuating renal dysfunction in transplant patients. Frusemide converts oliguric renal failure to non-oliguric renal failure. The bulk of the data, including that from prospective studies indicate dopamine is only a diuretic. Fenoldopam, a dopamine analogue, has shown early promise in reports. Calcium channel blockers have not been shown to improve the outcome in renal transplantation or help in the prevention of contrast-induced nephropathy. Atrial natriuretic peptide has not been proven to be of benefit in established renal failure and its role in prevention has not been assessed.

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