BACKGROUND: The diagnostic accuracy of serum creatinine and cystatin C (Cys) as early predictors of contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) has been debated. We investigated the diagnostic sensitivities, diagnostic specificities, and variations from baseline for serum creatinine and Cys in CIN. METHODS: We prospectively evaluated 166 patients at risk for CIN at baseline, and at 12, 24, and 48 h after exposure to contrast media. CIN occurred in 30 patients (18%). Changes (Δ) compared to baseline in serum creatinine and Cys were evaluated at the predefined time points. ROC curve analysis was performed for the Δ 12-h basal serum creatinine and Cys. RESULTS: The Δ serum creatinine at 12 h from baseline was the earliest predictor of CIN [area under the ROC curve (AUC) = 0.80; P < 0.001]. The Δ serum creatinine 15% variation [0.15 mg/dL (13.2 μmol/L)] yielded 43% diagnostic sensitivity and 93% diagnostic specificity. The ΔCys at 12 h from baseline performed significantly worse than serum creatinine (AUC = 0.48; P = 0.74). CONCLUSIONS: Variations from the serum creatinine baseline offer better diagnostic accuracy for predicting CIN at an earlier stage than similar variations in Cys. An additional diagnostic value of Cys over the determination of serum creatinine in the setting of CIN was not observed.
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