Variation in Clinical Usefulness of Biomarkers of Acute Kidney Injury in Young Children Undergoing Cardiac Surgery


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is one of the most significant postoperative complications of pediatric cardiac surgery. Because serum creatinine has limitations as a diagnostic marker of AKI, new biomarkers including neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1), and interleukin-18 (IL-18) are being evaluated to overcome these limitations and detect AKI at an early stage after cardiac surgery.


This study aimed to investigate the clinical usefulness of these biomarkers in young children.


Thirty patients with congenital heart diseases who underwent cardiac surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) were selected, and their urine and blood samples were collected at baseline and 6, 24, and 48 h after surgery. Serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels as well as NGAL, KIM-1, and IL-18 levels in urine samples were measured, and clinical parameters were evaluated.


Of the 30 patients, 12 developed AKI within 48 h after cardiac surgery. In the AKI group, 8 of 12 (66.6%) met AKI criteria after 24 h, and urine KIM-1/Cr level (with adjustment of urine creatinine) peaked at 24 h with significant difference from baseline level. Additionally, urine KIM-1/Cr level in the AKI group was significantly higher than in the non-AKI group at 6h. However, urine NGAL/Cr and IL-18/Cr levels showed no specific trend with time for 48 h after cardiac surgery.


It is suggested that urine KIM-1/Cr concentration could be considered a good biomarker for early AKI prediction after open cardiac surgery using CPB in young children with congenital heart diseases.