A new analysis indicates that women do not have a higher risk than men for developing kidney damage after cardiovascular surgery when adjustments are made for comorbidities. The findings appear in an article, entitled “Sex and the Risk of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) Following Cardio-thoracic Surgery: A Meta-analysis,” published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

To investigate, Joel Neugarten, MD, from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and his colleagues performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of relevant studies published between January 1978 and December 2015. The analysis included 64 studies with 1,057,412 participants.

When they combined all studies that provided gender-specific data, the researchers found that female sex was associated with an increased risk of AKI following cardiovascular surgery, but this link was not seen in studies in which certain stringent classification methods used to define AKI. There was also no association between sex and AKI risk when the investigators focused solely on studies that took patient characteristics and other factors into account. For example, many studies have shown that women undergoing cardiovascular surgery tend to have a higher burden of comorbidities and worse cardiovascular health than men.

“We have disputed the commonly held notion that women are at greater risk for acute kidney injury after cardiovascular surgery,” said Neugarten.