Cardiac Catheterization and Postoperative Acute Kidney Failure in Congenital Heart Pediatric Patients

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Acute renal failure (ARF) is a severe complication of cardiac operations in pediatric patients. Angiography with the exposure to contrast media is a risk factor for ARF. In the present study, we explored the association between timing of angiography, dose of contrast media, and the incidence of ARF after cardiac operations in pediatric patients.


We performed a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data. Angiographic data and other covariates were collected in 277 patients aged ≤12 years receiving angiography and cardiac operations during the same hospital stay. Renal outcome was assessed according to the pediatric Risk, Injury, Failure, Loss of function, End stage score (pRIFLE).


One hundred seventy-seven (64%) patients suffered some degree of postoperative renal dysfunction, and 55 (20%) had ARF (pRIFLE stage Failure). Patients with ARF received a significantly (P < 0.001) larger dose of iodine contrast media (4.6 ± 2.6 g/kg) with respect to the other patients (2.8 ± 2.2 g/kg), with a relative risk increase for ARF of 31% per each incremental iodine dose of 1 g/kg at the univariate analysis. A multivariable risk model demonstrated that the risk for ARF is 20 times higher in patients aged younger than 2 years and 3 times higher in case of postoperative low cardiac output. Within this model, the iodine dose on angiography is confirmed as an independent risk factor for ARF, with a relative risk increase for ARF of 16% per each incremental iodine dose of 1 g/kg.


Angiography before cardiac surgery is an important risk factor for ARF in pediatric patients. Being a modifiable risk factor, the contrast media dose should be limited to the lowest possible value, avoiding large doses of iodine which, together with other factors (age and postoperative low cardiac output), concur in the determinism of postoperative ARF.

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