The research, which is published in the current issue of The Lancet, sites evidence in favor of using the protein neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, or NGAL, as a new biomarker for diagnosing kidney failure (also called acute renal failure) in patients.
"Despite major achievements in treating children and adults with kidney failure, little has changed in the last four decades to diagnose kidney failure early enough before it progresses into a chronic or deadly condition," according to Prasad Devarajan, M.D., director of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and principal investigator of the study.
"We set out to identify genes and biomarkers that could help us make the diagnosis well before it is too late. We identified a candidate protein for the early and rapid diagnosis of acute renal injury that occurs in a common clinical condition, namely after cardiac surgery," he said.
While many conditions and diseases can lead to kidney failure, it is more often the result of decreased blood flow to the kidneys from major surgery or injury, stroke, sepsis, dehydration, or adverse reactions to medications. The kidneys will stop working over a period of hours, days, or in some cases, weeks.
Five percent of all patients admitted to the hospital and 30-50 percent of those in intensive care units will have kidney failure. In these cases, 50-80 percent of people will die.
The current gold standard in diagnosing kidney failure (serum creatinine measurement) leads to a diagnosis one to three days after the initial injury, but by testing for high concentrations of NGAL, Dr. Devarajan and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's found
Contact: Amy Reyes
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center