Gelatin has been used as a plasma volume expander because of its ability to preserve intravascular volume more effectively than crystalloids. However, gelatin may have detrimental effects on kidney function and increase the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI).
We investigated by retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data whether the administration of 4% succinyl gelatin is associated with an increased risk of AKI after cardiac surgery. We compared two propensity score-matched groups of 1,187 patients (crystalloid group and gelatin group).
The incidence of AKI was similar in both groups (gelatin 21% and crystalloid 20%) (p = 0.414). The incidence of moderate AKI (8% vs. 6%) was higher in the gelatin group, but there was no difference in mild or severe AKI. Postoperative serum creatine on the first (70 vs. 70 μmol L−1, p = 0.689) or fourth (71 vs. 70, p = 0.313) postoperative day was similar between groups and there was no difference in the need for new renal replacement therapy (p = 0.999). Patients in the gelatin group received less crystalloids (2080 ml vs. 4130 ml, p = 0.001) and total fluids (3760 ml vs. 4180 ml, p = 0.001), their fluid balance was less positive (p = 0.001) and they required less vasoactive and inotropic medication (p = 0.001). Gelatin was not associated with increased mortality compared to the crystalloid group.
Gelatin was not associated with AKI after cardiac surgery.