Dexamethasone can help prevent serious kidney complications that can arise following heart surgery, a new study has shown. Findings from the study will be published in the upcoming Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Researchers from the University Medical Center in Utrecht, The Netherlands assessed whether giving patients dexamethasone could decrease the risk of severe acute kidney injury (AKI) following cardiac surgery. The team analyzed results from the Dutch Dexamethasone for Cardiac Surgery (DECS), which randomized patients undergoing cardiac surgery to either placebo or dexamethasone during surgery (n=4465). The original study tested whether dexamethasone could reduce various major post-op complications but this analysis focused on AKI requiring dialysis.

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They found that dexamethasone appeared to protect against the development of severe AKI. There was approximately a 2.5-times reduced risk of developing AKI requiring dialysis vs. those receiving a placebo.

Dexamethasone is an accessible and cost-effective drug to take during cardiac surgery, researchers concluded.

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