Hemolysis is associated with acute kidney injury during major aortic surgery

Kidney Int. 2010 May;77(10):913-20. doi: 10.1038/ki.2010.24. Epub 2010 Feb 24.


Hemolysis is an inevitable side effect of cardiopulmonary bypass resulting in increased plasma free hemoglobin that may impair tissue perfusion by scavenging nitric oxide. Acute kidney injury after on-pump cardiovascular surgery arises from a number of causes and severely affects patient morbidity and mortality. Here, we studied the effect of acute hemolysis on renal injury in 35 patients undergoing on-pump surgical repair of thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms of whom 19 experienced acute kidney injury. During surgery, plasma free hemoglobin increased, as did urinary excretion of the tubular injury marker N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase, in patients with and without acute kidney injury, reaching peak levels at 2 h and 15 min, respectively, after reperfusion. Furthermore, plasma free hemoglobin was independently and significantly correlated with the urine biomarker, which, in turn, was independently and significantly associated with the later postoperative increase in serum creatinine. Importantly, peak plasma free hemoglobin and urine N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase concentrations had significant predictive value for postoperative acute kidney injury. Thus, we found an association between increased plasma free hemoglobin and renal injury casting new light on the pathophysiology of acute kidney injury. Therefore, free hemoglobin is a new therapeutic target to improve clinical outcome after on-pump cardiovascular surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosaminidase / urine
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / urine*
  • Aged
  • Aorta
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Female
  • Hemolysis
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / adverse effects


  • Biomarkers
  • Creatinine
  • Acetylglucosaminidase