Lack of Effectiveness of Sodium Bicarbonate in Preventing Kidney Injury in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Study Objective

Because alkalinization of the renal tubules can theoretically protect against the mechanisms of acute kidney injury, we sought to determine whether a sodium bicarbonate infusion can prevent acute kidney injury after cardiac surgery.


Prospective, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.


Cardiac surgery service in a community hospital.


Ninety-two patients with stage 3 or higher chronic kidney disease who underwent cardiac surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass.


Forty-eight patients received a perioperative intravenous infusion of 0.9% sodium chloride 154 mEq/L, and 44 patients received an infusion of sodium bicarbonate infusion 150 mEq/L in 5% dextrose solution; the infusions were started 1 hour preoperatively and continued for 6 hours after cardiopulmonary bypass.

Measurements and Main Results

The primary outcome was the development of any stage of acute kidney injury within 5 days after surgery as defined by the Acute Kidney Injury Network criteria. No statistically significant difference in the primary outcome was noted between the two groups: 32% in the bicarbonate group versus 42% in the sodium chloride group (p=0.12). Likewise, no significant differences in the 30-day hospital mortality rate or other adverse outcomes were noted between the two groups.


A perioperative infusion of sodium bicarbonate did not reduce the rate of acute kidney injury or adverse outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease who underwent cardiac surgery.

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