Background: We previously demonstrated that assessment of the duration of AKI, in addition to magnitude of rise in creatinine alone, adds prognostic information for long-term survival. We evaluated whether post-operative kidney injury biomarkers in urine collected immediately after cardiac surgery associate with duration of serum creatinine elevation. Methods: We studied 1199 adults undergoing cardiac surgery in a prospective cohort study (TRIBEAKI) and examined the association between the levels of five urinary biomarkers individually at 0-6 hours after surgery: interleukin-18 (IL-18), neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1), liver fatty acid binding protein (L-FABP) and albumin with duration of serum creatinine-based AKIN criteria for AKI (0 (no AKI), 1-2, 3-6, >7 days). Results: Overall, 407 (34%) patients had at least stage 1 AKI, of whom 251 (61.7%) had duration of 1-2 days, 118 (28.9%) had duration 3-6 days, and 38 (9.3%) had duration of >7 days. Higher concentrations of all biomarkers (per log increase) were independently associated with a greater odds of a longer duration of AKI; odds ratios and 95%confidence intervals using ordinal logistic regression were the following: IL-18: 1.22, 1.13-1.32; KIM-1: 1.36, 1.21-1.52; albumin 1.20, 1.09-1.32; L-FABP 1.11, 1.04-1.19; NGAL 1.06, 1.00-1.14). AKI duration of 7 days or longer was associated with a 5-fold adjusted risk of mortality at 3 years. Conclusions: There was an independent dose-response association between urinary levels of injury biomarkers immediately after cardiac surgery and longer duration of AKI. Duration of AKI was also associated with long term mortality. Future studies should explore the potential utility of these urinary kidney injury biomarkers to enrich enrollment of patients at risk for longer duration of AKI into trials of interventions to prevent or treat post-operative AKI.
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