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Anesth Analg. 2013 Oct;117(4):924-31. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182a1ec84. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

The association between perioperative hemoglobin and acute kidney injury in patients having noncardiac surgery.

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Division of Nephrology, McMaster University, St. Joseph's Hospital, 50 Charlton Ave., E Hamilton, ON L8S 4A6.



Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common complication of noncardiac surgery and is associated with excess morbidity and mortality. Perioperative hemoglobin concentrations are strongly associated with surgical mortality, but little is known about their relationship with AKI. We studied hemoglobin concentration before and 24 hours after surgery and its association with AKI.


We performed a single-center observational cohort study using clinical and administrative data from the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH. In patients with normal preoperative renal function, we examined the association between the outcome of AKI and the exposures of preoperative hemoglobin concentration and decrements in hemoglobin concentration in the first 24 hours after surgery using logistic regression and controlling for important confounding variables.


We included 27,381 patients who had 33,330 noncardiac surgeries. AKI developed in 2478 (7.4%) surgeries. Preoperative hemoglobin concentrations were <12.0 g/dL in 9566 (29%) patients. Hemoglobin concentrations decreased by >4.0 g/dL in 10,808 (32%) patients. Compared with patients with a preoperative hemoglobin >12.0 g/dL, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for AKI was 2.01 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-2.3) for those with a preoperative hemoglobin between 10.1 and 12.0 g/dL and was 3.7 (95% CI, 2.6-5.4) for those with a preoperative hemoglobin <8.0 g/dL. Compared with patients who did not have a decrease in postoperative hemoglobin, a decrement of 1.1 to 2.0 g/dL was associated with an adjusted OR of 1.51 (95% CI, 1.15-1.98), and a decrement of >4.0 g/dL with an OR of 4.7 (95% CI, 3.6-6.2) for AKI.


Low preoperative and early postoperative decrements in hemoglobin concentrations are strongly associated with postoperative AKI in a graded manner. Given the frequency of low perioperative hemoglobin and decreases in hemoglobin concentration, research is needed to determine whether there are safe treatment strategies to mitigate the risk of AKI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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