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Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), an endogenous hormone synthesized by the cardiac atria, has been shown to improve renal function in multiple animal models of acute renal failure. In a recent multicenter clinical trial of 504 patients with acute tubular necrosis (oliguric and nonoliguric), ANP decreased the need for dialysis only in the oliguric patients. In the present study, 222 patients with oliguric acute renal failure were enrolled into a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial designed to assess prospectively the safety and efficacy of ANP compared with placebo. Subjects were randomized to treatment with a 24-hour infusion of ANP (anaritide, 0.2 microgram/kg/min; synthetic form of human ANP) or placebo. Dialysis and mortality status were followed up for 60 days. The primary efficacy end point was dialysis-free survival through day 21. Dialysis-free survival rates were 21% in the ANP group and 15% in the placebo group (P = 0.22). By day 14 of the study, 64% and 77% of the ANP and placebo groups had undergone dialysis, respectively (P = 0.054), and 9 additional patients (7 patients, ANP group; 2 patients, placebo group) needed dialysis but did not receive it. Although a trend was present, there was no statistically significant beneficial effect of ANP in dialysis-free survival or reduction in dialysis in these subjects with oliguric acute renal failure. Mortality rates through day 60 were 60% versus 56% in the ANP and placebo groups, respectively (P = 0.541). One hundred two of 108 (95%) versus 63 of 114 (55%) patients in the ANP and placebo groups had systolic blood pressures less than 90 mm Hg during the study-drug infusion (P < 0.001). The maximal absolute decrease in systolic blood pressure was significantly greater in the anaritide group than placebo group (33.6 versus 23.9 mm Hg; P < 0.001). This well-characterized population with oliguric acute renal failure had an overall high morbidity and mortality.
Despite several decades of clinical experience, the mortality rate for patients with acute renal failure (ARF) requiring dialysis remains high, and the evaluation of the patients prognosis has been difficult. To date, the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) scoring system has been used more frequently for prediction in studies of ARF than any other scoring system, but has not been prospectively validated in controlled multicenter studies of this entity. In a multicenter, prospective, controlled trial evaluating the use of biocompatible hemodialysis membranes (BCMs) in patients with ARF, we evaluated the extent to which the APACHE II scoring system, based on the physiological variables in the 24 hours before the onset of dialysis and the presence or absence of oliguria, is predictive of outcome. Analysis of survival and recovery of renal function for the 153 patients treated in this study show that APACHE II scores are predictive both of survival and recovery of renal function, whether analyzed separately by type of dialysis membrane used (BCM or bioincompatible [BICM]) or for both groups combined (all P < 0.01). There was no evidence of a significant center effect or interaction of APACHE II score with dialysis membrane in our study. After adjusting for the APACHE II score, there was a positive effect of the BCM on both probability of survival (P < 0.05) and recovery of renal function (P < 0.01). In patients dialyzed with BCMs, oliguria at onset of dialysis had an adverse effect on both survival and recovery of renal function (both P < 0.01). Receiver operator curves (ROCs) using APACHE II score and the use of BCMs in nonoliguric patients yielded a statistically significant improvement versus the use of APACHE II score alone in the area under the curve (AUC) for survival (0.747 to 0.801; P < 0.05) and recovery of renal function (0.712 to 0.775; P < 0.05). We conclude that the use of the APACHE II score determined at the time of initiation of dialysis for patients with ARF is a statistically significant predictor of patient survival and recovery of renal function. The use of the APACHE II score measured at the time of dialysis initiation, especially when modified by the presence or absence of oliguria, should help in predicting outcome when evaluating interventions for patients with ARF.
The mortality of patients with acute renal failure (ARF) remains high, and in several large studies approaches 60%. This mortality is particularly high in patients with ARF who require dialysis and has not changed substantially over several years, despite the introduction of major advances in monitoring and treatment. Increasing prevalence of comorbidities has been suggested as the major factor in this persistently high mortality. This study investigates the potential role of the dialysis membrane on patient outcome in a prospective multicenter study of 153 patients with ARF requiring dialysis. The membrane assignment was made in alternating order and was limited to membranes with low complement activation (Biocompatible [BCM]) and cellulosic, high complement activation (Bioincompatible [BICM]). Both types of membranes were low-flux membranes. Patients were dialyzed with the assigned membrane until recovery, discharge from hospital, or death. The severity of illness of each patient was assessed using the APACHE II score at the time of initiation of dialysis. A logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for the APACHE II score. The results of the study showed a statistically significant difference in survival (57% in patients on BCM, 46% in patients on BICM; P = 0.03) and in recovery of renal function (64% in patients on BICM and 43% in patients on BICM; P = 0.001). These differences were particularly marked in the patients who were nonoliguric (>400 ml/d of urine output) at initiation of the study. In the subset of patients who were nonoliguric at the start of dialysis, a larger fraction (70%) became oliguric after initiating dialysis on a BICM membrane, in contrast to 44% who were initiated on a BCM membrane (P = 0.03). It is concluded that the biocompatibility of the dialysis membrane plays a role in the outcome of patients with ARF, particularly those who are nonoliguric at the time of initiation of dialysis.