Background The mechanisms underlying long-term sequelae following acute kidney injury (AKI) remain unclear. Vessel instability, an early response to endothelial injury, may reflect a shared mechanism and early trigger for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and heart failure. Methods To investigate whether plasma angiopoietins, markers of vessel homeostasis, are associated with CKD progression and heart failure admissions after hospitalization in patients with and without AKI, we conducted a prospective cohort study to analyze the balance between angiopoietin-1 (Angpt-1), which maintains vessel stability, and angiopoietin-2 (Angpt-2), which increases vessel destabilization. Three months after discharge, we evaluated the associations between angiopoietins and development of the primary outcomes of CKD progression and heart failure, as well as the secondary outcome of all-cause mortality 3 months after discharge or later. Results Median age for the 1503 participants was 65.8 years; 746 (50%) had AKI. Compared with the lowest quartile, the highest quartile of the Angpt-1:Angpt-2 ratio was associated with 72% lower risk of CKD progression (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.28; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.15 to 0.51), 94% lower risk of heart failure (aHR, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.02 to 0.15), and 82% lower risk of mortality (aHR, 0.18; 95% CI, 0.09 to 0.35) for those with AKI. Among those without AKI, the highest quartile of Angpt-1:Angpt-2 ratio was associated with 71% lower risk of heart failure (aHR, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.12 to 0.69) and 68% less mortality (aHR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.68). There were no associations with CKD progression. Conclusions A higher Angpt-1:Angpt-2 ratio was strongly associated with less CKD progression, heart failure, and mortality in the setting of AKI.
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