Aims: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is increasingly recognized as a major risk factor leading to progression to chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, the diagnostic tools for predicting AKI to CKD progression are particularly lacking. Here, we tested the utility of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) for predicting progression to CKD after AKI by using both mild (20-min) and severe (45-min) bilateral renal ischemia-reperfusion injury mice.
Results: Renal perfusion measured by CEUS reduced to 25% ± 7% and 14% ± 6% of the pre-ischemic levels in mild and severe AKI 1 h after ischemia (p < 0.05). Renal perfusion returned to pre-ischemic levels 1 day after mild AKI followed by restoration of kidney function. However, severe AKI caused persistent renal perfusion impairment (60% ± 9% of baseline levels) accompanied by progressive renal fibrosis and sustained decrease in renal function. Renal perfusion at days 1-21 significantly correlated with tubulointerstitial fibrosis 42 days after AKI. For predicting renal fibrosis at day 42, the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve of renal perfusion impairment at day 1 was 0.84. Similar changes in the renal image of CEUS were observed in patients with AKI-CKD progression.
Innovation: This study demonstrates that CEUS enables dynamic and noninvasive detection of renal perfusion impairment after ischemic AKI and the perfusion abnormalities shown by CEUS can early predict the progression to CKD after AKI.
Conclusions: These results indicate that CEUS enables the evaluation of renal perfusion impairment associated with CKD after ischemic AKI and may serve as a noninvasive technique for assessing AKI-CKD progression. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 27, 1397-1411.
Keywords: acute kidney injury; chronic kidney disease; contrast-enhanced ultrasound; prediction; progression.