Double-blinded, randomized controlled trial of N-acetylcysteine for prevention of acute kidney injury in high risk patients undergoing off-pump coronary artery bypass

Nephrology (Carlton). 2015 Feb;20(2):96-102. doi: 10.1111/nep.12361.


Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of perioperative N-acetylcysteine (NAC) administration, a known antioxidant, on the incidence of acute kidney injury (AKI) after off-pump coronary bypass surgery (OPCAB) in patients with known risk factors of AKI.

Methods: One hundred and seventeen patients with ≥1 of the following risk factors of AKI were randomized into either the control (n = 57) or the NAC (n = 60) group; (i) preoperative serum creatinine >1.4 mg/dL; (ii) left ventricular ejection fraction <35% or congestive heart failure (iii) age >70 years (iv) diabetes or (v) re-operation. Patients in the NAC group received 150 mg/kg of NAC IV bolus at anaesthetic induction followed by a continuous infusion at 150 mg/kg per day for 24 h. AKI was diagnosed based on Acute Kidney Injury Network criteria during 48 h postoperatively.

Results: The incidence of AKI was 32% (19/60) and 35% (20/57) in the control and the NAC group, respectively (P = 0.695). The serum concentrations of creatinine and cystatin C were similar between the groups throughout the study period. Fluid balance including the amount of blood loss and transfusion requirement were similar between the groups except the amount of postoperative urine output, which was higher in the control group compared with the NAC group (5528 ± 1247 mL vs. 4982 ± 1185 mL, control vs. NAC, P = 0.017).

Conclusion: Perioperative administration of NAC did not prevent the development of postoperative AKI after OPCAB in highly susceptible patients to AKI.

Trial registration: NCT01394419.

Keywords: N-acetylcysteine; acute kidney injury; antioxidant; cardiac surgery; off-pump coronary artery bypass.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / administration & dosage*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Coronary Artery Bypass, Off-Pump / adverse effects*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perioperative Care
  • Republic of Korea
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Creatinine
  • Acetylcysteine

Associated data