Article : Urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin is an excellent predictor of mortality in intensive care unit patients

Haifa M. Algethamy, Fatma I. Albeladi


Objectives: To assess urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) level as a potential predictor of acute kidney injury (AKI), and both intensive care unit (ICU) and in-hospital mortality.

Methods: Patients presenting to our ICU with a systolic blood pressure (SBP) less than 90 mmHg or mean arterial pressure (MAP) less than 65 mmHg, and no prior kidney disease were followed prospectively. Baseline data were collected on patient demographics, admission diagnosis, APACHE II and SOFA scores, SBP, MAP, serum creatinine and cystatin C, and uNGAL. Patients were monitored throughout hospitalization, including daily uNGAL, serum creatinine and cystatin C, and continuous MAP. Bivariate analysis compared those dying in the ICU and in-hospital versus survivors; with hierarchical binary logistic regression used to identify predictors of mortality. Areas under receiver-operating-characteristic curves (AUC) were used to measure sensitivity and specificity at different uNGAL thresholds.

Results: Among 75 patients followed, 16 died in the ICU, and another 24 prior to hospital discharge. Mortality rates were greatest in trauma and sepsis patients. The ICU survivors differed from non-survivors in almost all clinical variables; but only 2 predicted ICU mortality on multivariate analysis: day one uNGAL (p=0.01) and 24-hour APACHE II score (p=0.07). Only the APACHE II score significantly predicted in-hospital mortality (p=0.003). The AUC for day one uNGAL was greater for ICU (AUC=0.85) than in-hospital mortality (AUC=0.74).

Conclusions: Day one uNGAL is a highly accurate predictor of ICU, but less so for in-hospital mortality.

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