Firefighter Work Duration Influences the Extent of Acute Kidney Injury

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We tested the hypothesis that elevations in biomarkers of acute kidney injury are influenced by the magnitude of hyperthermia and dehydration elicited by two common firefighter work durations.


Twenty-nine healthy adults (10 females) wearing firefighter protective clothing completed two randomized trials where they walked at 4.8 km·h−1, 5% grade in a 38°C, 50% RH environment. In the short trial, subjects completed two 20-min exercise bouts. In the long trial (LONG), subjects completed three 20-min exercise bouts. Each exercise bout was separated by 10 min of standing rest in an ~20°C environment. Venous blood samples were obtained before and immediately after exercise, and after 1 h recovery. Dependent variables included changes in core temperature, body weight, plasma volume, serum creatinine, and plasma neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, a marker of renal tubule injury.


Changes in core temperature (+2.0°C ± 0.7°C vs +1.1°C ± 0.4°C, P < 0.01), body weight (−0.9% ± 0.6% vs −0.5% ± 0.5%, P < 0.01), and plasma volume (−11% ± 5% vs −8% ± 6%, P < 0.01) during exercise were greater in LONG. Increases in creatinine were higher in LONG postexercise (0.18 ± 0.15 vs 0.08 ± 0.07 mg·dL−1, P < 0.01) and after recovery (0.21 ± 0.16 vs 0.14 ± 0.10 mg·dL−1, P < 0.01). Increases in neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin were greater in LONG postexercise (27.0 ± 20.5 vs 12.7 ± 18.0 ng·mL−1, P = 0.01) and after recovery (16.9 ± 15.6 vs 1.5 ± 15.1 ng·mL−1, P = 0.02).


Biomarkers of acute kidney injury are influenced by the magnitude of hyperthermia and hypovolemia elicited by exercise in the heat.

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