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International Journal of Nephrology
Volume 2011, Article ID 762590, 10 pages
Review Article

Cardiorenal Syndromes: Pathophysiology to Prevention

Department of Medicine, Cardiology Section, St. John Providence Health System, Providence Park Heart Institute, 47601 Grand River Avenue, Suite C202, Novi, MI 48374, USA

Received 21 August 2010; Accepted 30 September 2010

Academic Editor: Mitchell H. Rosner

Copyright © 2011 Peter A. McCullough. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is a strong association between both acute and chronic dysfunction of the heart and kidneys with respect to morbidity and mortality. The complex interrelationships of longitudinal changes in both organ systems have been difficult to describe and fully understand due to a lack of categorization of the common clinical scenarios where these phenomena are encountered. Thus, cardiorenal syndromes (CRSs) have been subdivided into five syndromes which represent clinical vignettes in which both the heart and the kidney are involved in bidirectional injury and dysfunction via a final common pathway of cell-to-cell death and accelerated apoptosis mediated by oxidative stress. Types 1 and 2 involve acute and chronic cardiovascular disease (CVD) scenarios leading to acute kidney injury (AKI) or accelerated chronic kidney disease (CKD). Types 3 and 4 describe AKI and CKD, respectively, leading primarily to heart failure, although it is possible that acute coronary syndromes, stroke, and arrhythmias could be CVD outcomes in these forms of CRS. Finally, CRSs type 5 describe a systemic insult to both heart and the kidneys, such as sepsis, where both organs are injured simultaneously in persons with previously normal heart and kidney function at baseline. Both blood and urine biomarkers, including the assessment of catalytic iron, a critical element to the generation of oxygen-free radicals and oxidative stress, are reviewed in this paper.