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.