Elevation of blood urea nitrogen is predictive of long-term mortality in critically ill patients independent of normal creatinine

Kevin Beier, Sabitha Eppanapally, Heidi S. Bazick, Domingo Chang, Karthik Mahadevappa, Fiona K. Gibbons, Kenneth B. Christopher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: We hypothesized that elevated blood urea nitrogen can be associated with all-cause mortality independent of creatinine in a heterogeneous critically ill population. Design: Multicenter observational study of patients treated in medical and surgical intensive care units. Setting: Twenty intensive care units in two teaching hospitals in Boston, MA. Patients: A total of 26,288 patients, age 18 yrs, hospitalized between 1997 and 2007 with creatinine of 0.80-1.30 mg/dL. Interventions: None. Measurements: Blood urea nitrogen at intensive care unit admission was categorized as 10-20, 20-40, and >40 mg/dL. Logistic regression examined death at days 30, 90, and 365 after intensive care unit admission as well as in-hospital mortality. Adjusted odds ratios were estimated by multivariable logistic regression models. Main Results: Blood urea nitrogen at intensive care unit admission was predictive for short- and long-term mortality independent of creatinine. Thirty days following intensive care unit admission, patients with blood urea nitrogen of >40 mg/dL had an odds ratio for mortality of 5.12 (95% confidence interval, 4.30-6.09; p < .0001) relative to patients with blood urea nitrogen of 10-20 mg/dL. Blood urea nitrogen remained a significant predictor of mortality at 30 days after intensive care unit admission following multivariable adjustment for confounders; patients with blood urea nitrogen of >40 mg/dL had an odds ratio for mortality of 2.78 (95% confidence interval, 2.27-3.39; p < .0001) relative to patients with blood urea nitrogen of 10-20 mg/dL. Thirty days following intensive care unit admission, patients with blood urea nitrogen of 20-40 mg/dL had an odds ratio of 2.15 (95% confidence interval, 1.98-2.33; <.0001) and a multivariable odds ratio of 1.53 (95% confidence interval, 1.40-1.68; p < .0001) relative to patients with blood urea nitrogen of 10-20 mg/dL. Results were similar at 90 and 365 days following intensive care unit admission as well as for in-hospital mortality. A subanalysis of patients with blood cultures (n = 7,482) demonstrated that blood urea nitrogen at intensive care unit admission was associated with the risk of blood culture positivity. Conclusion: Among critically ill patients with creatinine of 0.8-1.3 mg/dL, an elevated blood urea nitrogen was associated with increased mortality, independent of serum creatinine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalCritical care medicine
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

Keywords

  • blood urea nitrogen
  • creatinine
  • gastrointestinal bleed
  • intensive care
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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