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Am J Kidney Dis. 2007 Jan;49(1):56-68.

Beneficial impact of fenoldopam in critically ill patients with or at risk for acute renal failure: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano, Italia.



Acute kidney injury is common in critically ill patients. Fenoldopam mesylate is a potent dopamine A-1 receptor agonist that increases blood flow to the renal cortex and outer medulla. Because there is uncertainty about the benefits of fenoldopam in such a setting, we performed a systematic review of randomized controlled trials of intensive care unit patients or those undergoing major surgery.


BioMedCentral, CENTRAL, PubMed, and conference proceedings were searched (updated October 2005). Investigators and external experts were contacted. Two unblinded reviewers selected randomized controlled trials that used fenoldopam in the prevention or treatment of acute kidney injury in postoperative or intensive care patients. Studies involving the prevention of contrast nephropathy or containing duplicate data were excluded from analysis. Two reviewers independently abstracted patient data, treatment characteristics, and outcomes.


A total of 1,290 patients from 16 randomized studies were included in the analysis. Pooled estimates showed that fenoldopam consistently and significantly reduced the risk for acute kidney injury (odds ratio [OR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 0.59; P < 0.001), need for renal replacement therapy (OR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.84; P = 0.007), and in-hospital death (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.45 to 0.91; P = 0.01). These benefits were associated with shorter intensive care unit stay (weighted mean difference, -0.61 days; 95% CI, -0.99 to -0.23; P = 0.002). Sensitivity analyses, tests for small-study bias, and heterogeneity assessment further confirmed the main analysis.


This analysis suggests that fenoldopam reduces the need for renal replacement and mortality in patients with acute kidney injury. A large, multicenter, appropriately powered trial will need to be performed to confirm these results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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