JOURNAL ARTICLE

Urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin rules out nephrotoxic acute kidney injury in children

Stuart L Goldstein, Kelli A Krallman, Alexandra Schmerge, Lynn Dill, Bradley Gerhardt, Praneeta Chodaparavu, Abigail Radomsky, Cassie Kirby, David J Askenazi
Pediatric Nephrology 2021 January 18
33459927

BACKGROUND: Nephrotoxic medication exposure is a common cause of acute kidney injury (AKI) in hospitalized children. A key component of the NINJA quality improvement initiative is systematic daily serum creatinine assessment in non-critically ill children exposed to ≥ 3 nephrotoxic medications on 1 day, or intravenous aminoglycoside or vancomycin for ≥ 3 days. Daily venipuncture is invasive and associated with disposable and personnel healthcare costs. Urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) is a marker of renal tubular injury associated with certain nephrotoxic medications. We investigated whether uNGAL is a reliable screening tool for AKI in NINJA and could decrease the need for daily venipuncture.

METHODS: This two-center prospective study enrolled 113 children who met NINJA criteria from May 2018 through March 2019. Daily urine samples were obtained for up to the first 7 days of qualifying exposure and 2 days after exposure ended. Our primary outcome was severe AKI (KDIGO stage 2 or 3 AKI). Maximum uNGAL was highest concentration on the day of, or 3 days prior to, severe AKI. The highest uNGAL level from all assessment days was used for patients who did not develop AKI or severe AKI.

RESULTS: Urine NGAL thresholds of 150 and 300 ng/ml demonstrated excellent specificity (92.4 and 97.1% respectively) and negative predictive values (93.3 and 92.8% respectively) for ruling out severe AKI.

CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that uNGAL could be used to supplant some of the daily serum creatinine venipunctures in NINJA. The most optimal combination of serum creatinine and uNGAL assessment requires further study.

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