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Haptoglobin and free haemoglobin during cardiac surgery—is there a link to acute kidney injury?

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Goettingen, Germany


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is frequently observed after cardiac surgery (CS) with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Multiple mechanisms underlie this phenomenon, including CPB-dependent haemolysis. Haemoglobin is released during haemolysis, and free haemoglobin (frHb) causes tubular cell injury after exceeding the binding capacity of haptoglobin (Hp). The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of perioperative changes in frHb and Hp levels on the incidence of CS-associated (CSA) AKI. After receiving local ethics committee approval and obtaining informed consent from our patients, we analysed the data pertaining to 154 patients undergoing CPB surgery. We recorded frHb and Hp concentrations pre-, intra- and postoperatively and defined AKI using the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) classification. We observed that frHb levels increased significantly during surgery and then decreased at ten hours thereafter and that Hp levels decreased during surgery and remained at low levels until the first postoperative day. We noted a moderate negative correlation between frHb and Hp levels. AKI was identified in 45.5% of patients; however, there was no significant difference in frHb or Hp levels between patients with and without AKI. We did not observe a relationship between frHb or Hp levels and CSA AKI and thus could not confirm the hypothesis that patients with higher baseline Hp concentrations experience a lower incidence of AKI than patients with lower baseline Hp concentrations.

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