Being able to predict whether AKI will progress could improve monitoring and care, guide patient counseling, and assist with enrollment into trials of AKI treatment. Using samples from the Translational Research Investigating Biomarker Endpoints in AKI study (TRIBE-AKI), we evaluated whether kidney injury biomarkers measured at the time of first clinical diagnosis of early AKI after cardiac surgery can forecast AKI severity. Biomarkers included urinary IL-18, urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR), and urinary and plasma neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL); each measurement was on the day of AKI diagnosis in 380 patients who developed at least AKI Network (AKIN) stage 1 AKI. The primary end point (progression of AKI defined by worsening AKIN stage) occurred in 45 (11.8%) patients. Using multivariable logistic regression, we determined the risk of AKI progression. After adjustment for clinical predictors, compared with biomarker values in the lowest two quintiles, the highest quintiles of three biomarkers remained associated with AKI progression: IL-18 (odds ratio=3.0, 95% confidence interval=1.3-7.3), ACR (odds ratio=3.4, 95% confidence interval=1.3-9.1), and plasma NGAL (odds ratio=7.7, 95% confidence interval=2.6-22.5). Each biomarker improved risk classification compared with the clinical model alone, with plasma NGAL performing the best (category-free net reclassification improvement of 0.69, P<0.0001). In conclusion, biomarkers measured on the day of AKI diagnosis improve risk stratification and identify patients at higher risk for progression of AKI and worse patient outcomes.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00774137.