Firefighter Work Duration Influences the Extent of Acute Kidney Injury

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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusions

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

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