Effect of Nitric Oxide on Postoperative Acute Kidney Injury in Patients who Underwent Cardiopulmonary Bypass: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis with Trial Sequential Analysis

Ann Intensive Care. 2019 Nov 21;9(1):129

NO appeared to reduce the risk of postoperative AKI in patients undergoing CPB.


The effect of nitric oxide (NO) on renal function is controversial in critical illness. We performed a systematic meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis to determine the effect of NO gas on renal function and other clinical outcomes in patients requiring cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). The primary outcome was the relative risk (RR) of acute kidney injury (AKI), irrespective of the AKI stage. The secondary outcome was the mean difference (MD) in the length of ICU and hospital stay, the RR of postoperative hemorrhage, and the MD in levels of methemoglobin. Trial sequential analysis (TSA) was performed for the primary outcome.


54 trials were assessed for eligibility and 5 studies (579 patients) were eligible for meta-analysis. NO was associated with reduced risk of AKI (RR 0.76, 95% confidential interval [CI], 0.62 to 0.93, I2 = 0%). In the subgroup analysis by NO initiation timing, NO did not decrease the risk of AKI when started at the end of CPB (RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.52–2.78, I2 = 0%). However, NO did significantly reduce the risk of AKI when started from the beginning of CPB (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.54–0.94, I2 = 10%). We conducted TSA based on three trials (400 patients) using KDIGO criteria and with low risk of bias. TSA indicated a CI of 0.50–1.02 and an optimal information size of 589 patients, suggesting a lack of definitive conclusion. Furthermore, NO does not affect the length of ICU and hospital stay or the risk of postoperative hemorrhage. NO slightly increased the level of methemoglobin at the end of CPB (MD 0.52%, 95% CI 0.27–0.78%, I2 = 90%), but it was clinically negligible.


NO appeared to reduce the risk of postoperative AKI in patients undergoing CPB. Additional studies are required to ascertain the finding and further determine the dosage, timing and duration of NO administration.