Background and objective: Contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) is an acute major complication following intravascular administration of iodinated contrast agents; however, the best approach for preventing CIN is not clear. Remote ischemic pre-conditioning (RIPC) is a new, non-pharmacological method that has been considered for the prevention of CIN following coronary angiography. This study assessed the effects of RIPC with four brief episodes of upper limb ischemia and reperfusion in the prevention of contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) after coronary angiography and/or angioplasty.

Methods: In this double-blind randomized clinical trial, we enrolled 51 patients with chronic stable angina and non-ST elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE.ACS), and they underwent coronary angiography and/or angioplasty. Standard fluid therapy with normal saline was prescribed for all patients before and after the procedure. The patients were divided into two groups, i.e., a study group of patients who had undergone RIPC intervention and a control group of patients who had not undergone RIPC.  One hour before the procedure, a sphygmomanometer cuff was placed around one arm and inflated up to 50 mmHg above the systolic pressure for five minutes; then, the cuff was deflated for another five minutes, and this cycle was repeated four times. The patients’ serum creatinine levels were measured at baseline and 48 hours after the procedure, and the incidence of CIN was calculated.

Results: Twenty-one males and 30 females were studied in two groups, i.e., an RIPC intervention group (n = 25) and a control group (n = 26) that were homogenous considering baseline characteristics. No significant difference was observed in the mean level of serum creatinine between the two groups at a post-intervention time of 48 hours (RICP: 1.74 ± 0.70 mg/dL vs. Control: 1.75 ± 0.87 mg/dL; P = 0.64). However, a lower incidence rate of CIN was observed 48 hours after the administration of the contrast medium in the RIPC group, but it was not statistically significant (RIPC: 23.1% vs. Control: 12.0%; P = 0.30).

Conclusion: It seems that adequate fluid therapy is still the most effective strategy for preventing CIN and that RIPC might have additional protective effects in very high risk patients, such as those with severe renal insufficiency and heart failure.  

Trial registration: The trial was registered at the Iranian Clinical Trial Registry (http://www.irct.ir) with the IRCT identification number IRCT2015061422713N1.

Funding: This research was supported financially by the Research Council of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. The authors received no financial support for writing or publishing this article.


Keywords: percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary angiography, kidney diseases, contrast-induced nephropathy, remote ischemic pre-conditioning
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