When kidneys are injured, CT contrast isn’t the culprit

Intravenous CT contrast does no harm to patients’ kidneys, according to a meta-analysis of 28 medical-journal articles involving more than 107,000 patients.

The study was published online Aug. 12 in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Ryan Aycock, MD, of Eglin Air Force Base Hospital, Raveendhara Bannuru, MD, PhD, of Tufts University and colleagues searched PubMed and five other study aggregators for research reports presenting data on adverse effects in patients who received intravenous CT contrast versus those who had CT without contrast.

The team found contrast-enhanced CT was not significantly associated with either acute kidney injury (odds ratio 0.94), need for renal replacement therapy (odds ratio 0.83) or all-cause mortality (odds ratio 1.0).

“We found no significant differences in our principal study outcomes between patients receiving contrast-enhanced CT versus those receiving noncontrast CT,” the authors write. “Given similar frequencies of acute kidney injury in patients receiving noncontrast CT, other patient- and illness-level factors, rather than the use of contrast material, likely contribute to the development of acute kidney injury.”