A randomized controlled trial of N-acetylcysteine to prevent contrast nephropathy in cardiac angiography

Kidney Int. 2002 Dec;62(6):2202-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.2002.00673.x.


Background: Contrast nephropathy (CN) is a common cause of renal dysfunction after cardiac angiography. Recently, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been found to reduce the risk of CN after CT imaging with contrast enhancement. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy of NAC for the prevention of CN in the setting of cardiac angiography.

Methods: Eligible patients were those undergoing cardiac angiography with serum creatinine>1.7 mg/dL. Patients were randomized to one of two groups: Group 1, IV hydration and NAC, 1200 mg one hour before angiography, and a second dose 3 hours after; Group 2, IV hydration and placebo. CN was defined as an increase of 0.5 mg/dL in serum creatinine.

Results: Seventy-nine patients completed the study. There were no significant differences between the groups in baseline characteristics, duration of angiography, mean volume of dye infused or mean IV hydration. Contrast nephropathy developed in 24.0% of subjects, 26.3% NAC, and 22.0% placebo (P = NS). Among subjects with diabetes mellitus, there was no significant difference in the rate of CN between the groups (42.1% NAC, 27.8% placebo; P = 0.09). The independent predictors of CN risk were diabetes mellitus and preexisting chronic renal insufficiency.

Conclusions: NAC was not effective for the prevention of CN after cardiac angiography.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced
  • Acute Kidney Injury / epidemiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Coronary Angiography / adverse effects*
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies


  • Contrast Media
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Acetylcysteine