Background: Acute renal insufficiency is associated with poorer outcomes in heart failure. Data regarding the renal effects of vasodilatory therapy in acute heart failure are inconclusive.
Hypothesis: Nesiritide and nitroglycerin are associated with differing effects on the incidence of acute renal injury and glomerular filtration rate changes.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of patients hospitalized with acute congestive heart failure who received intravenous nesiritide or nitroglycerin for ≥6 hours. Acute kidney injury was assessed by risk, injury, failure, loss, and end stage (RIFLE) classification (creatinine/GFR criteria) and by traditional acute rise in creatinine of 0.3 mg/dL or 25%. Secondary endpoints included change in estimated glomerular filtration rate, serum creatinine, serum blood urea nitrogen, blood pressure, and urine output.
Results: A total of one hundred and thirty-one patients (age 57 ± 12 years, 67% male, left ventricular ejection fraction 38 ± 35%, 30% ischemic) received nesiritide (N = 37) or nitroglycerin (N = 94). Diuretic regimen and doses were similar in both the groups. Mean duration of therapy was not different (nesiritide 38.6 ± 35.7 h vs nitroglycerin 30.7 ± 22.6 h, P = .13). No differences were detected in incidence of renal injury using either criteria (RIFLE: nesiritide 19% vs nitroglycerin 22%, P = .88; traditional: 22% vs 34%, P = .16); however, glomerular filtration rate declined (-1 ± 18 mL/min vs -9 ± 21 mL/min, P = .03) and blood urea nitrogen increased (-0.2 ± 9.9 mg/dL vs 4.2 ± 9.1 mg/dL, P = .02) to a greater degree with nitroglycerin. Nesiritide was associated with lower hourly blood pressures and a higher incidence of systolic blood pressure <80 mm Hg.
Conclusion: The incidence of renal injury was not different between nesiritide- and nitroglycerin-treated patients with acute heart failure; however, nitroglycerin was associated with a decline in glomerular filtration rate and increase in blood urea nitrogen despite higher baseline and on treatment blood pressures.