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International Journal of Nephrology
Volume 2014, Article ID 708585, 8 pages
Research Article

Early Trends in Cystatin C and Outcomes in Patients with Cirrhosis and Acute Kidney Injury

1Program of Applied Translational Research, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA
2Section of Nephrology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
3Clinical Epidemiology Research Center, VAMC, West Haven, CT 06516, USA
4Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA 23298, USA
5Section of Digestive Diseases, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
6VA-Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT 06520, USA
7Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center, South Bronx, NY 10461, USA
8Division of General Internal Medicine, San Francisco VA Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA

Received 5 December 2013; Revised 10 February 2014; Accepted 10 February 2014; Published 18 March 2014

Academic Editor: Jaime Uribarri

Copyright © 2014 Justin M. Belcher et al. 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.


Background. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common and severe complication in patients with cirrhosis. Progression of AKI to a higher stage associates with increased mortality. Intervening early in AKI when renal dysfunction is worsening may improve outcomes. However, serum creatinine correlates poorly with glomerular filtration in patients with cirrhosis and fluctuations may mask progression early in the course of AKI. Cystatin C, a low-molecular-weight cysteine proteinase inhibitor, is a potentially more accurate marker of glomerular filtration. Methods. We conducted a prospective multicenter study in patients with cirrhosis comparing changes in cystatin and creatinine immediately following onset of AKI as predictors of a composite endpoint of dialysis or mortality. Results. Of 106 patients, 37 (35%) met the endpoint. Cystatin demonstrated less variability between samples than creatinine. Patients were stratified into four groups reflecting changes in creatinine and cystatin: both unchanged or decreased 38 (36%) (Scr−/CysC−); only cystatin increased 25 (24%) (Scr−/CysC+); only creatinine increased 15 (14%) (Scr+/CysC−); and both increased 28 (26%) (Scr+/CysC+). With Scr−/CysC− as the reference, in both instances where cystatin rose, Scr−/CysC+ and Scr+/CysC+, the primary outcome was significantly more frequent in multivariate analysis, and , respectively. However, when only creatinine rose, outcomes were similar to the reference group. Conclusions. Changes in cystatin levels early in AKI are more closely associated with eventual dialysis or mortality than creatinine and may allow more rapid identification of patients at risk for adverse outcomes.