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Due to the wide use of radiocontrast agents (RCA) in modern radiology and interventional cardiology, the incidence of radiocontrast-induced nephropathy (RCIN) is increasing. The risk factors for RCIN are primarily pre-existing (even mild) renal dysfunction, diabetes mellitus, absolute or relative hypovolemia, nephrotoxic drugs, etc., particularly in elderly patients. The presence of these risk factors seems to be more important than the type of contrast agent used. To date, there are several certainties and controversies in the prevention of RCIN. Hydration with normal saline and/or bicarbonate administration pre-and post-intervention is certainly useful. Though controversial, N-Acetylcysteine administration may be still advisable. Recent investigations showed the benefits of aminophylline/theophylline administration in RCA-induced renal tubular toxicity. Conventional hemodialysis cannot prevent RCIN, but may potentially aggravate renal dysfunction through hemodynamic instability. “High-flux” hemodialysis and hemodiafiltration may contribute efficiently to RCIN prevention, but systematic use of these modern dialysis techniques is limited by high costs and availability. The authors review - in a systematic manner, and in the perspective of evidence-based medicine - the most important data from literature concerning the prevention of RCIN.
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