The fallacy of the BUN:creatinine ratio in critically ill patients.
Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2011 Dec 29;
Authors: Rachoin JS, Daher R, Moussallem C, Milcarek B, Hunter K, Schorr C, Abboud M, Henry P, Weisberg LS
Background and objectivesAcute kidney injury (AKI) is common in critically ill patients and is associated with a high mortality rate. Pre-renal azotemia, suggested by a high blood urea nitrogen to serum creatinine (BUN:Cr) ratio (BCR), has traditionally been associated with a better prognosis than other forms of AKI. Whether this pertains to critically ill patients is unknown.MethodsWe conducted a retrospective observational study of two cohorts of critically ill patients admitted to a single center: a derivation cohort, in which AKI was diagnosed, and a larger validation cohort. We analyzed associations between BCR and clinical outcomes: mortality and renal replacement therapy (RRT).ResultsPatients in the derivation cohort (N = 1010) with BCR >20 were older, predominantly female and white, and more severely ill. A BCR >20 was significantly associated with increased mortality and a lower likelihood of RRT in all patients, patients with AKI and patients at risk for AKI. Patients in the validation cohort (N = 10?228) with a BCR >20 were older, predominantly female and white, and more severely ill. A BCR >20 was associated with increased mortality and a lower likelihood of RRT in all patients and in those at risk for AKI, BUN correlated with age and severity of illness.ConclusionsA BCR >20 is associated with increased mortality in critically ill patients. It is also associated with a lower likelihood of RRT, perhaps because of misinterpretation of the BCR. Clinicians should not use a BCR >20 to classify AKI in critically ill patients.
PMID: 22207331 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]