Iodinated contrast-induced nephropathy is one of the most feared complications of percutaneous coronary interventions and is associated with increased cardio-vascular mortality and a faster progression towards end stage renal disease. The effects of the iodinated contrast medium on intra-renal hemodynamics and its direct cytotoxic action on proximal tubular cells contribute synergistically to the pathophysiology of renal damage. Since the therapeutic options are extremely limited, the rapid identification of risk factors and the timely implementation of preventive strategies are mandatory to reduce the incidence of iodinated contrast-induced nephropathy. To date, the criteria for defining and staging contrast medium nephropathy are still based on the increase of serum creatinine and/or contraction of diuresis, which are lacking in specificity and therefore do not allow early diagnosis. The aim of this review is to report the latest evidence on the pathophysiological mechanisms that contribute to renal damage by iodinated contrast medium, on the risk stratification tools and on the new early biomarkers of contrast-induced nephropathy, while also focusing on the most validated prevention strategies.
Keywords: contrast medium, nephropathy, risk factors, early diagnosis, prevention