Acute kidney injury (AKI) is one of the most frequent complications after cardiac surgery and is associated with poor outcomes. Biomarkers of AKI are crucial for the early diagnosis of this condition. Secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) is an alarm anti-protease that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of AKI but has not yet been studied as a diagnostic biomarker of AKI. Using two independent cohorts (development cohort (DC), n = 60; validation cohort (VC), n = 148), we investigated the performance of SLPI as a diagnostic marker of AKI after cardiac surgery. Serum and urinary levels of SLPI were quantified by ELISA. SLPI was significantly elevated in AKI patients compared with non-AKI patients (6 h, DC: 102.1 vs. 64.9 ng/mL, p < 0.001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of serum SLPI 6 h after surgery was 0.87 ((0.76-0.97); DC). The addition of SLPI to standard clinical predictors significantly improved the predictive accuracy of AKI (24 h, VC: odds ratio (OR) = 3.91 (1.44-12.13)). In a subgroup, the increase in serum SLPI was evident before AKI was diagnosed on the basis of serum creatinine or urine output (24 h, VC: OR = 4.89 (1.54-19.92)). In this study, SLPI was identified as a novel candidate biomarker for the early diagnosis of AKI after cardiac surgery.
Keywords: ICU; acute kidney injury; biomarkers; cardiovascular surgery; complications.