Cardiorenal syndrome: classification, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management. Literature review




Jonathan S. Chávez-Iñiguez, Servicio de Nefrología, Hospital Civil Fray Antonio Alcalde, Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
Sergio J. Sánchez-Villaseca, Servicio de Nefrología, Hospital Civil Fray Antonio Alcalde, Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
Luz A. García-Macías, Universidad de Guadalajara, Centro Universitario de Ciencias de la Salud. Guadalajara, Jalisco, México


The cardiorenal syndrome is a complex entity in which a primary heart dysfunction causes kidney injury (Types 1 and 2) and vice versa (Types 3 and 4), being either acute or chronic events, or maybe the result of a systemic disease that involves both organs (Type 5). Approximately 49% of heart failure cases present some grade of kidney dysfunction, significantly increasing morbidity and mortality rates. Its pathogenesis involves a variety of hemodynamic, hormonal and immunological factors that in the majority of cases produce fluid overload; the diagnosis and treatment of such constitutes the disease’s management basis. Currently, a clinical based diagnosis is insufficient and the use of biochemical markers, such as natriuretic peptides, or lung and heart ultrasound is required. These tools, along with urinary sodium levels, allow the evaluation of therapy effectiveness. The preferred initial decongestive strategy is based on a continuous infusion of a loop diuretic with a step-up dosing regimen, aiming for a minimal daily urine volume of 3 liters, with the possibility to sequentially add potassium sparing diuretics, thiazide diuretics and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors to reach the diuresis goal, leaving ultrafiltration as a last resource due to its higher rate of complications. Finally, evidence-based therapy should be given to improve quality of life, decrease mortality, and delay the deterioration of kidney and heart function over the long term.



Keywords: Cardiorenal syndrome. Heart failure. Acute kidney injury. Fluid overload. Decongestive therapy.