NKF: Coronary angiograms put women at higher risk of kidney damage

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Undergoing a coronary angiogram imaging exam puts patients at a higher risk for development of kidney damage, but the risk may be higher for woman than men, according to research presented April 27 at the National Kidney Foundation annual meeting in Las Vegas.

The 1,211 patient study conducted by researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit assessed whether gender affected which patients developed radiocontrast-induced nephropathy (RCIN) after coronary angiogram. The researchers followed patients who received an imaging exam between January 2008 and December 2009.

The researchers reported that women were 60 percent more likely than men to develop RCIN, which is an adverse side effect of the iodine contrast dye administered to patients during these types of imaging tests. When side effects occur, they usually cause kidney dysfunction within 24 to 72 hours of the exam.

Almost 20 percent of women developed RCIN compared to 13.6 percent of men, Javier Neyra, MD, of Henry Ford Hospital, and colleagues reported.

And while Neyra offered that further studies are necessary to better understand these results, he said that women’s size may be a reason why this is more common in women.

"Because men and women patients receive the same amount of dye during a coronary angiogram, it's possible the amount is just too much for a woman's body to handle given her smaller size," Neyra noted. "Perhaps a woman's height and weight ought to be factored into the dosage."

The researchers said that RCIN is the third-leading cause of hospital-acquired kidney damage in the U.S., after surgery and hypertension, and said that the contrast dye may cause kidney blood vessels to narrow.

Neyra concluded that while gender risk could also be attributed to age, hormonal levels and comorbidities, he said further studies will necessary to prove these hypotheses.