Anti-inflammatory strategies to reduce acute kidney injury in cardiac surgery patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Artif Organs. 2014 Feb;38(2):101-12. doi: 10.1111/aor.12127. Epub 2013 Jul 22.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) after cardiac operations is a serious complication associated with postoperative mortality. Multiple factors contribute to AKI development, principally ischemia-reperfusion injury and inflammatory response. It is well proven that glucocorticoid administration, leukocyte filter application, and miniaturized extracorporeal circuits (MECC) modulate inflammatory response. We conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in which one of these inflammatory system modulation strategies was used, with the aim to evaluate the effects on postoperative AKI. MEDLINE and Cochrane Library were screened through November 2011 for RCTs in which an inflammatory system modulation strategy was adopted. Included were trials that reported data about postoperative renal outcomes. Because AKI was defined by different criteria, including biochemical determinations, urine output, or dialysis requirement, we unified renal outcome as worsening renal function (WRF). We identified 14 trials for steroids administration (931 patients, WRF incidence [treatment vs. placebo]: 2.7% vs. 2.4%; OR: 1.13; 95% CI: 0.53-2.43; P = 0.79), 9 trials for MECC (947 patients, WRF incidence: 2.4% vs. 0.9%; OR: 0.47; 95% CI: 0.18-1.25; P = 0.13), 6 trials for leukocyte filters (374 patients, WRF incidence: 1.1% vs. 7.5%; OR: 0.18; 95% CI: 0.05-0.64; P = 0.008). Only leukocyte filters effectively reduced WRF incidence. Not all cardiopulmonary bypass-related anti-inflammatory strategies analyzed reduced renal damage after cardiac operations. In adult patients, probably other factors are predominant on inflammation in determining AKI, and only leukocyte filters were effective. Large multicenter RCTs are needed in order to better evaluate the role of inflammation in AKI development after cardiac operations.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory agents; Cardiopulmonary bypass; Complications; Inflammation; Inflammatory response; Kidney dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / prevention & control*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents