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Potential risk factors for the development of acute renal failure in preterm newborn infants: a case-control study
  1. L Cataldi1,
  2. R Leone2,
  3. U Moretti2,
  4. B De Mitri3,
  5. V Fanos4,
  6. L Ruggeri4,
  7. G Sabatino5,
  8. F Torcasio6,
  9. V Zanardo7,
  10. G Attardo8,
  11. F Riccobene9,
  12. C Martano10,
  13. D Benini11,
  14. L Cuzzolin2
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy
  2. 2Department of Medicine and Public Health, Section of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
  3. 3Pediatric Division, Section of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, A Di Summa Hospital, Brindisi, Italy
  4. 4Department of Pediatrics and Clinical Medicine, Section of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
  5. 5Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, University G D’Annunzio, Chieti, Italy
  6. 6Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, Milano, Italy
  7. 7Pediatric Division, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
  8. 8Neonatal Unit, Civic Hospital, Palermo, Italy
  9. 9Neonatology Division, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, S Camillo Hospital, Roma, Italy
  10. 10Neonatal Pathology Division, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
  11. 11Pediatric Division, Negrar Hospital, Verona, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Cuzzolin
    Department of Medicine and Public Health, Section of Pharmacology, University of Verona, Policlinico GB Rossi, Piazzale LA Scuro, 37134 Verona, Italy;


Aims: To determine in a case-control study possible associations between the development of acute renal failure in preterm newborns and therapeutic interventions, particularly drug treatments.

Methods: The study population was 172 preterm infants of <38 weeks gestation; 71 had acute renal failure and 101 were controls closely matched for gestational age and birth weight. Maternal and neonatal information was collected for both groups through questionnaires and interviews. Routine data on renal variables were also collected. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed.

Results: Very low birthweight infants were at high risk of acute renal failure (79% of cases were <1500 g). However, the acute renal failure was transient. Mothers of infants with acute renal failure received more drugs during pregnancy and delivery (mainly antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Of the possible therapeutic interventions, intubation, catheterisation, and phototherapy were mainly applied to case subjects. A low Apgar score and patent ductus arteriosus were diagnosed in a greater percentage of neonates with acute renal failure. Moreover, in the first few days of life and before diagnosis of acute renal failure, case subjects received more drugs (antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and diuretics) and for a longer time. In the multivariate logistic analysis, medullary hyperechogenicity (odds ratio (OR) 4.491; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.879 to 10.731) and ceftazidime administration (OR 5.082; 95% CI 1.493 to 17.297) were associated with a greater risk of acute renal failure.

Conclusions: The results suggest the need for careful monitoring of very low birthweight infants and attention to drug treatments, as it is difficult to differentiate between normality and renal failure in the first few days of life.

  • ARF, acute renal failure
  • NICU, neonatal intensive care unit
  • PDA, patent ductus arteriosus
  • acute renal failure
  • case-control study
  • premature
  • kidney

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  • Competing interests: none declared

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