Acute kidney injury after hip or knee replacement: Can we lower the risk?

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Various factors have been associated with development of acute kidney injury by multivariate analysis in these studies. Some are modifiable, while others are not, at least in the short term.

Nonmodifiable risk factors

Older age is often significant in studies assessing primary total joint arthroplasty or revision total joint arthroplasty not specifically for infection.11,12,16,17,26,28

Obesity is also a major factor in the development of acute kidney injury,7,10–12,17,18 and, along with age, is a major factor contributing to the need for joint replacement in the first place.

Male sex may increase risk.29

Diabetes mellitus was identified as a risk factor in several studies,10,12,17,20 and hypertension in a few.7,10,24

Other comorbidities and factors such as cardiovascular disease,7,10 liver disease,7 pulmonary disease,7 high American Society of Anesthesiology score,8,19 and benign heart murmurs preoperatively by routine physical examination have also been linked to acute kidney injury after joint arthroplasty.28

Chronic kidney disease as a risk factor

Chronic kidney disease at baseline was associated with acute kidney injury in several of these series.7,11–13,15,19,29

Warth et al12 studied 1,038 patients and found an incidence of acute kidney injury of 11% in the 135 with chronic kidney disease (defined as serum creatinine > 1.2 mg/dL) and who received acetaminophen or narcotics for pain control, compared with 4.8% in the remaining 903 patients without chronic kidney disease, who received ketorolac or celecoxib.

Perregaard et al13 studied 3,410 patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty and found an incidence of acute kidney injury (per KDIGO creatinine criteria) of 2.2% overall, but 7% in the 134 patients with chronic kidney disease based on KDIGO creatinine criteria.

Nowicka et al15 found an incidence of acute kidney injury of 16.7% in the 48 patients with chronic kidney disease (defined as a glomerular filtration rate estimated by the Cockroft-Gault formula of less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2), compared with 4.5% in the remaining 289.

Modifiable risk factors

Modifiable risk factors that should be considered in high-risk cases include anemia, perioperative blood transfusion, perioperative use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), particular antibiotics used for prophylaxis, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used postoperatively.

Anemia and blood transfusion

Preoperative anemia has been associated with postoperative acute kidney injury in various surgical settings such as cardiac surgery.37,38 Perioperative red blood cell transfusions have also been associated with acute kidney injury in cardiac surgery; similar results may apply to total joint arthroplasty.

Choi et al,17 in 2,467 patients undergoing hip replacement, found a significant risk for acute kidney injury if postoperative hemoglobin was consistently below 10 g/dL compared with consistently above this level, with an inverse probability-of-treatment weighted odds ratio of 1.817 (P = .011).

Others have found a significant association of perioperative blood transfusion with acute kidney injury in total joint arthroplasty.10,29

Nadkarni et al,29 for example, used the nationwide inpatient sample database and found by multivariate analysis that perioperative blood transfusion was strongly associated with acute kidney injury, with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.28 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.15–2.42, P < .0001).

Comment. A higher incidence of acute kidney injury may represent confounding by indication bias, as sicker patients or complicated surgeries may require transfusion, and this risk may not be completely accounted for by multivariate analysis. It is also possible, however, that transfusions per se may contribute to acute kidney injury. Possible direct or indirect mechanisms mediating acute kidney injury include hemolytic reactions, circulatory overload, acute lung injury, and immunomodulatory effects.39

Preoperative transfusion in anemic patients undergoing cardiac surgery may also reduce the incidence of postoperative acute kidney injury both by correcting the anemia and by limiting the need for perioperative transfusions.40 It remains to be determined whether elective preoperative transfusion to correct anemia would reduce postoperative development of acute kidney injury in total joint arthroplasty. As an aside, perioperative transfusion has also been linked to development of periprosthetic joint infection.41

Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors

Several studies found perioperative use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors to be a risk factor for acute kidney injury.

Kimmel et al11 reported adjusted odds ratios of 2.70 (95% CI 1.12–6.48) for ACE inhibitor use and 2.64 (95% CI 1.18–5.93) for ARB use in a study of 425 primary total joint arthroplasties.

Challagundla et al24 found an odds ratio of 3.07 (95% CI 1.40–6.74) with ACE inhibitor or ARB use by multivariate analysis in 198 total joint arthroplasties.

Nielson et al18 studied 798 patients who underwent total joint arthroplasty and found that preoperative use of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors was associated with a significantly higher rate of postoperative acute kidney injury (8.3% vs 1.7% without inhibition), which was statistically significant by multivariate analysis (odds ratio 2.6, 95% CI 1.04–6.51).

We recommend holding renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors 7 days before surgery through the postoperative period in high-risk cases.

Aminoglycoside use as a risk factor

Prophylactic administration of systemic antibiotics is the standard of care. In a systematic review of 26 studies and meta-analysis of 7 studies (3,065 patients), prophylactic antibiotics reduced the relative risk of wound infection by 81% with an absolute risk reduction of 8%.42

A modifiable risk factor for acute kidney injury is the specific antibiotic used for prophylaxis. Multiple studies assessed the risk of acute kidney injury comparing regimens containing an aminoglycoside (typically gentamicin) with regimens lacking these agents.20–26 In general, these studies found a significantly higher risk of acute kidney injury when gentamicin was used.

Challagundla et al24 found an incidence of acute kidney injury of 52% using RIFLE creatinine criteria in 52 patients receiving 8 g total of flucloxacillin plus 160 mg of gentamicin (120 mg if they weighed less than 60 kg) compared with 8% in 48 patients given cefuroxime (3 g total) and 14% in an additional 52 patients also given cefuroxime.

Johansson et al25 found an incidence of KDIGO creatinine-based acute kidney injury of 13% in 70 patients given dicloxacillin alone prophylactically compared with 27% given dicloxacillin and gentamicin, with a relative risk of 3.

Bell et al,21 in a large registry-based analysis from Scotland involving 7,666 elective orthopedic procedures, found that use of flucloxacillin 2 g plus a single dose of gentamicin 4 mg/kg was significantly associated with a 94% higher risk of acute kidney injury (KDIGO creatinine criteria) compared with a cefuroxime-based regimen, with absolute rates increasing from 6.2% to 10.8%.

Dubrovskaya et al20 and Ferguson et al,26 in contrast, found no increased risk with addition of gentamicin.

We recommend avoiding aminoglycosides for prophylaxis in primary lower-extremity total joint arthroplasty in patients at higher risk unless required for specific microbiologic reasons.

Vancomycin may also increase risk

Courtney et al19 assessed the risk of adding vancomycin to cefazolin for routine prophylaxis in a retrospective series of 1,828 total hip or knee arthroplasties and found a significantly higher rate of acute kidney injury, using AKIN criteria (13% vs 8%, odds ratio by multivariate analysis 1.82, P = .002).19

Other agents shown to be effective in treating periprosthetic joint infections or complicated skin and soft-tissue infections with resistant organisms include daptomycin43 and linezolid.44 These nonnephrotoxic alternatives to vancomycin may be a consideration if prophylaxis for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is deemed necessary in patients at risk for acute kidney injury.

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