The overall risk of postcontrast acute kidney injury (PC-AKI) after computerized tomography (CT) is negligible, likely because of the small volume of injected iodinated contrast media required. However, the safety of contrast media–enhanced CT in patients with advanced renal functional impairment, an established major risk factor for PC-AKI, is unknown.
Materials and Methods
This is a retrospective study using large data analysis of hospitalized patients at a single center. Adults undergoing CT or magnetic resonance imaging were included in the study and were stratified by estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) (≤30 or >30 mL/min/1.73 m2) and by either contrast-enhanced or nonenhanced imaging. Only patients with serial determination of creatinine before and after imaging were included. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data between groups were analyzed and compared using univariate analysis, propensity score matching, and multivariate logistic regression analysis.
A total of 22,319 imaging studies were included. Patients with an eGFR of 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 or lower undergoing contrast-enhanced CT (n = 403) had an increased risk to develop PC-AKI than did similar patients undergoing enhanced or nonenhanced magnetic resonance imaging (n = 96) or nonenhanced CT (n = 1576) or patients undergoing contrast-enhanced CT with a preprocedural eGFR higher than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 (n = 9173). These findings remained robust after propensity matching for demographic, procedural, and clinical parameters. Multivariate regression analysis of all patients undergoing CT with preimaging eGFR of 30 mL/min or lower (n = 1979) revealed that iodine-based contrast enhancement increased the likelihood of post-CT AKI by 51% (confidence interval, 1.23–2.05).
Although radiocontrast-enhanced CT is considered safe in most hospitalized patients and in ambulatory settings, the risk of PC-AKI remains significant among inpatients with substantial preimaging renal functional impairment. Caution is warranted using iodine-based enhanced CT in hospitalized patients with an eGFR of 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 or lower.