Sodium bicarbonate prophylactic therapy in the prevention of contrast-induced nephropathy in patients admitted to the intensive care unit of a teaching hospital: a retrospective cohort study

J Intensive Care. 2016 Jan 12:4:5. doi: 10.1186/s40560-016-0127-6. eCollection 2016.


Background: Intravenously administered iodine-containing contrast medium (CM) is associated with the development of contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN). Data on the effectiveness of sodium bicarbonate therapy in the prevention of CIN are controversial. Furthermore, the incidence of and risk factors for CIN in intensive care unit (ICU) patients are poorly defined. We investigated the effectiveness of sodium bicarbonate prophylaxis and the incidence of and risk factors for CIN in a heterogeneous ICU population.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study included patients admitted to the ICU in 2009-2011 who received CM for computed tomography (CT).

Results: Two hundred eleven CT scans with CM, performed in 170 patients, were included in the study. Contrast prophylaxis with sodium bicarbonate was administered in 48 of the 211 cases. CIN developed in 19 of the 48 cases receiving prophylaxis and in 39 of 163 cases not receiving prophylaxis (p = 0.03). In 115 CTs performed in patients with a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) >60 mL/min, prophylaxis was administered 15 times (13 %) and no prophylaxis was administered 100 times (87 %). CIN developed in 12 and 13 % of these cases, respectively (NS). In 96 CTs in patients with a GFR <60 mL/min, 17 of 33 (51.5 %) cases receiving prophylaxis developed CIN and 27 of 63 (42.9 %) cases not receiving prophylaxis developed CIN (NS). Prophylactic sodium bicarbonate therapy did not prevent CIN in our patients, irrespective of pre-existing renal failure. Pre-existing renal impairment (odds ratio 4.41), an elevated Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) IV score (odds ratio 1.02), and higher haemoglobin levels (odds ratio 0.64) were significant and independent risk factors associated with the development of CIN.

Conclusions: Prophylactic isotonic sodium bicarbonate was not associated with a decreased incidence of CIN in ICU patients. Current sodium bicarbonate prophylaxis guidelines cannot be generalized to a heterogeneous ICU population. Pre-existing renal impairment was associated with the highest CIN risk.

Keywords: Contrast-induced AKI; Contrast-induced nephropathy; ICU; Prophylactic therapy.