Urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin: a diagnostic and prognostic marker for acute kidney injury (AKI) in hospitalized cirrhotic patients with AKI-prone conditions

Sombat Treeprasertsuk, Amornpun Wongkarnjana, Veeravich Jaruvongvanich, Sasipim Sallapant, Khajohn Tiranathanagul, Piyawat Komolmit, Pisit Tangkijvanich
BMC Gastroenterology 2015 October 16, 15: 140

BACKGROUND: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is known to increase mortality in hospitalized cirrhotic patients; therefore early identification is utmost significance. There are only a few studies evaluating the cut-off level of urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) for diagnosing AKI and its prognostic value in cirrhotic patients. We aimed to determine the accuracy of uNGAL as a biomarker for early identification of AKI and to determine the cut-off level of uNGAL for diagnosing AKI in hospitalized cirrhotic patients; and (2) to explore the association of 30-day liver-related mortality with uNGAL level.

METHODS AND MATERIAL: We prospectively enrolled cirrhotic patients admitted at the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital during May 1, 2011 to Dec 31, 2013. UNGAL levels were measured within 24 h after admission. Clinical and laboratory data were obtained. Patients were followed up to 30 days.

RESULTS: Of 137 cirrhotic hospitalized patients, 121 cirrhotic patients (88.3 %) with AKI-prone conditions were included with mean age of 57.3 ± 14.7 years. Thirty-five patients (29 %) developed AKI within 72 h of admission. The causes of AKI were prerenal azotemia (68.6 %), acute tubular necrosis (25.7 %), hepatorenal syndrome (5.7 %), respectively. The mean uNGAL level was significantly higher in the patients who developed AKI compared with those who did not (290.6 ± 356.3 vs. 54.4 ± 73.7 ng/mL; P = 0.0001). The AUC of uNGAL for diagnosing AKI was 0.83 (95 % [CI]: 0.76-0.91) with the optimal cut-off level of 56 ng/mL, providing 77.1 % sensitivity and 73.3 % specificity. Fourteen percent of subjects died during the 30-day follow-up period. The mean uNGAL levels were significantly higher in the mortality group. The AUC of uNGAL in predicting mortality was 0.75 (95 % [CI]: 0.66-0.85), with a best cut-off level of 72 ng/mL providing 70.6 % sensitivity and 69.2 % specificity. However, in multivariate logistic regression analysis, uNGAL is not an independent factor for 30-day liver-related mortality prediction.

CONCLUSIONS: uNGAL is a valid marker for the early detection of AKI in hospitalized cirrhotic patients with AKI-prone conditions; however, its level could not independently predict 30-day liver-related mortality.

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