Objective: Contrast-induced renal dysfunction is an iatrogenic complication that occurs more frequently in patients with preexisting renal dysfunction. A prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo, controlled trial was completed to assess the efficacy of N-acetylcysteine in decreasing the incidence of contrast-induced renal dysfunction in patients with an acute coronary syndrome and renal insufficiency who underwent coronary angiography with or without percutaneous coronary intervention.
Methods: With similar intravenous hydration protocols, 20 patients received N-acetylcysteine (treatment group) and 20 patients received placebo (control group) in a twice per day dosing regimen with one dose before and three doses after contrast media exposure.
Results: The two groups were similar at baseline on demographic and clinical characteristics, and preexisting renal insufficiency. Contrast-induced renal dysfunction, defined as an increase in serum creatinine greater than 44 micromol/L (.5 mg/dL) and/or 25% above baseline within 48 hours, occurred in 7.5% of the cohort, with 2.5% in the treatment group, and 5% in the control group, for an absolute difference of 2.5%. There was no difference in serum creatinine or creatinine clearance at 24 hours or at 48 hours between the treatment and control groups.
Conclusion: These results suggest that this cohort gained no added protection to renal function with the use of N-acetylcysteine.