The safety of restarting angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB) after acute kidney injury (AKI) is unclear. There is concern that previous users do not restart ACEI/ARB despite ongoing indications. We sought to determine the risk of adverse events after an episode of AKI, comparing prior ACEI/ARB users who stop treatment to those who continue.
We conducted two parallel cohort studies in English and Swedish primary and secondary care, 2006-2016. We used multivariable Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios (HR) for hospital admission with heart failure (primary analysis), AKI, stroke, or death within 2 years after hospital discharge following a first AKI episode. We compared risks of admission between people who stopped ACEI/ARB treatment to those who were prescribed ACEI/ARB within 30?days of AKI discharge. We undertook sensitivity analyses, including propensity score-matched samples, to explore the robustness of our results.
In England, we included 7303 people with AKI hospitalisation following recent ACEI/ARB therapy for the primary analysis. Four thousand three (55%) were classified as stopping ACEI/ARB based on no prescription within 30?days of discharge. In Sweden, we included 1790 people, of whom 1235 (69%) stopped treatment. In England, no differences were seen in subsequent risk of heart failure (HR 1.10; 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.93-1.30), AKI (HR 0.90; 95% CI 0.77-1.05), or stroke (HR 0.99; 95% CI 0.71-1.38), but there was an increased risk of death (HR 1.27; 95% CI 1.15-1.41) in those who stopped ACEI/ARB compared to those who continued. Results were similar in Sweden: no differences were seen in risk of heart failure (HR 0.91; 95% CI 0.73-1.13) or AKI (HR 0.81; 95% CI 0.54-1.21). However, no increased risk of death was seen (HR 0.94; 95% CI 0.78-1.13) and stroke was less common in people who stopped ACEI/ARB (HR 0.56; 95% CI 0.34-0.93). Results were similar across all sensitivity analyses.
Previous ACEI/ARB users who continued treatment after an episode of AKI did not have an increased risk of heart failure or subsequent AKI compared to those who stopped the drugs.