Sunday, September 7, 2008

N-acetylcysteine helps protect kidneys from contrast agents used during imaging scans

The results of a meta-analysis published in the February 19, 2008 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine found that N-acetylcysteine works better than other agents to help prevent kidney damage (nephropathy) caused by iodine-containing dyes known as contrast agents which are used to enhance the visualization of organs or other structures during CT scans, angiograms and other imaging scans. Contrast-induced nephropathy is diagnosed when blood creatinine, an indicator of kidney function, increases 25 percent or more within 48 hours following contrast agent administration.

For the review, Aine Kelly, MD, MS, and her University of Michigan colleagues selected 41 randomized, controlled trials that compared the protective ability of a control agent such as saline to N-acetylcysteine, theophylline, fenoldopam, dopamine, iloprost, statin, furosemide, or mannitol in a group of patients in which intravenous iodinated contrast agents were used. The analysis did not include studies involving non-iodinated contrast agents such as barium or gadolinium. Continue Reading

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