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JAMA. 2003 Feb 5;289(5):553-8.

Acetylcysteine for prevention of acute deterioration of renal function following elective coronary angiography and intervention: a randomized controlled trial.

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Cardiac Medical Unit, Grantham Hospital, 125 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Aberdeen, Hong Kong.



The antioxidant acetylcysteine prevents acute contrast nephrotoxicity in patients with impaired renal function who undergo computed tomography scanning. However, its role in coronary angiography is unclear.


To determine whether oral acetylcysteine prevents acute deterioration in renal function in patients with moderate renal insufficiency who undergo elective coronary angiography.


Prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted from May 2000 to December 2001 at the Grantham Hospital at the University of Hong Kong.


Two hundred Chinese patients aged mean (SD) 68 (6.5) years with stable moderate renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance <60 mL/min [1.00 mL/s]) who were undergoing elective coronary angiography with or without intervention.


Participants were randomly assigned to receive oral acetylcysteine(600 mg twice per day; n = 102) or matching placebo tablets (n = 98) on the day before and the day of angiography. All patients received low-osmolality contrast agent.


Occurrence of more than a 25% increase in serum creatinine level within 48 hours after contrast administration; change in creatinine clearance and serum creatinine level.


Twelve control patients (12%) and 4 acetylcysteine patients (4%) developed a more than 25% increase in serum creatinine level within 48 hours after contrast administration (relative risk, 0.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.10-0.96; P =.03). Serum creatinine was lower in the acetylcysteine group (1.22 mg/dL [107.8 micromol/L]; 95% CI, 1.11-1.33 mg/dL vs 1.38 mg/dL [122.9 micromol/L]; 95% CI, 1.27-1.49 mg/dL; P =.006) during the first 48 hours after angiography. Acetylcysteine treatment significantly increased creatinine clearance from 44.8 mL/min (0.75 mL/s) (95% CI, 42.7-47.6 mL/min) to 58.9 mL/min (0.98 mL/s) (95% CI, 55.6-62.3 mL/min) 2 days after the contrast administration (P<.001). The increase was not significant in the control group (from 42.1 to 44.1 mL/min [0.70 to 0.74 mL/s]; P =.15). The benefit of acetylcysteine was consistent among various patient subgroups and persistent for at least 7 days. There were no major treatment-related adverse events.


Acetylcysteine protects patients with moderate chronic renal insufficiency from contrast-induced deterioration in renal function after coronary angiographic procedures, with minimal adverse effects and at a low cost.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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