Hemoglobinuria, clinically revealing as gross hematuria associated with anemia, increased hemolysis indices, acute kidney injury (AKI), can all be caused by mechanical intravascular hemolysis following mitral valve surgery. It can result from factors related to the surgical procedure or acquired later, such as paravalvular leak (PL), whose definite diagnosis is based on transesophageal echocardiography.
We report the case of a patient who experienced macrohematuria and AKI, initially attributed to acute glomerulonephritis, two months after mitral valve surgery. Careful microscopic examination of the urinary sediment was a diriment diagnostic tool to differentiate acute renal failure caused by hemoglobinuria from hematuria in the course of acute glomerulonephritis, directing clinicians to investigate post-operative valvular dysfunction. From the literature review we can deduce that, notwithstanding new technologies in cardiac surgery, this rare form of AKI from intravascular hemolysis requires immediate nephrological attention and that the use of microscopic urinary sediment is decisive.
Keywords: hemoglobinuria, urinary sediment, gross hematuria, acute kidney injury (AKI), mitral valve surgery, hemolytic anemia