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N-Acetylcysteine and Other Preventive Measures for Contrast-Induced Nephropathy in the Intensive Care Unit

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 21 ]


Marcus J. Schultz, Marije C. Baas, Hans P. van der Sluijs, G. Andre Stamkot and Watske Smit   Pages 2565 - 2570 ( 6 )


The increase in diagnostic imaging procedures that require infusion of intravenous radiographic contrast has led to a parallel increase in the incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN). Since CIN accounts for a significant increase of hospital-acquired renal failure, length of stay and mortality, several additive strategies to prevent CIN are presently advocated, including N-acetylcysteine (NAC), sodium bicarbonate, theophylline or fenoldopam, and peri-procedural hemofiltration/hemodialysis. As only one (nonrandomized) study has been performed in the intensive care setting, at present it is hard to give firm recommendations on preventive measures for CIN in intensive care patients. Indeed, future studies are needed to determine the true role of the above-mentioned preventive measures in critically ill patients at risk for CIN. Since NAC has only few side-effects, we presently advise NAC as an additive preventive measure in the intensive care setting. Theophylline or sodium bicarbonate hydration are viable options, either in conjunction NAC or as alternatives.


Contrast-induced nephropathy, acute renal failure, intensive care, prevention, N-acetylcysteine, theophylline, bicarbonate, hemofiltration, hemodialysis


Internist-intensivist, Department of ICU C3-329, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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