Renal Resistive Index: Response to Shock and its Determinants in Critically Ill Patients

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Shock is characterised by micro- and macrovascular flow impairment contributing to acute kidney injury (AKI). Routine monitoring of the circulation regards the macrocirculation but not the renal circulation which can be assessed with Doppler ultrasound as renal resistive index (RRI). RRI reflects resistance to flow. High RRI predicts persistent AKI. Study aims were to determine whether RRI is elevated in shock and to identify determinants of RRI.

Materials and Methods:

This prospective observational cohort study included two cohorts of patients, with and without shock <24-h after intensive care admission. Apart from routine monitoring, three study measurements were performed simultaneously: RRI, sublingual microcirculation and bioelectral impedance analysis.


92 patients were included (40 shock, 52 non-shock), median age was 69 [60–76] vs. 67 [59–76], p = 0.541; APACHE III was 87 [65–119] vs. 57 [45–69], p < 0.001. Shock patients had higher RRI than patients without shock (0.751 [0.692–0.788] vs. 0.654 [0.610–0.686], p < 0.001). Overall, high age, APACHE III score, lactate, vasopressor support, pulse pressure index (PPI), central venous pressure (CVP), fluid balance, and low pre-admission estimated glomerular filtration rate, mean arterial pressure (MAP), creatinine clearance and reactance/m were associated with high RRI at univariable regression (p < 0.01). Microcirculatory markers were not. At multivariable regression, vasopressor support, CVP, PPI and MAP, reactance/m and pre-admission eGFR were independent determinants of RRI (n = 92, Adj.R2 = 0.587).


Patients with shock have a higher RRI than patients without. Independent determinants of high RRI were pressure indices of the systemic circulation, low membrane capacitance and pre-admission renal dysfunction. Markers of the sublingual microcirculation were not.

Trial registration


Date of registration:

22-09-2015, retrospectively registered

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