Translational Research Project Grant

Prof Amrita Ahluwalia, William Harvey Research Institute

Amount: £144,825

Coronary angiography is a type of x-ray test which is used to look at the coronary arteries in the heart and help in the diagnosis of a number of heart conditions. It can also help in the planning of procedures such as balloon angioplasty and stent insertion to widen narrowed or blocked arteries in the heart.

During angiography, a special dye is injected which allows the blood vessels to show up on the x-ray. However, the dye can cause acute kidney injury called contrast induced nephropathy (CIN). In fact, CIN is the third most common cause of kidney failure that occurs in hospital. It is an important problem, as it is associated with a longer stay in hospital, higher healthcare costs, and a much worse outcome for patients with higher rates of complications and death.


There is evidence that contrast dye may cause kidney damage by reducing levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the kidneys. Dietary nitrate, which is abundant in vegetables such as beetroot, can increase the levels of NO in the body and this project will test whether taking nitrate in a capsule form can replace the lost NO in the kidneys and prevent CIN.


Patients will be divided into two groups; one group will take nitrate capsules and the other group ‘placebo’ or dummy capsules that do not contain nitrate. The researchers will then measure kidney function before the procedure, and two days and three months after, and compare the two groups to see if dietary nitrate makes a difference.


This study will show whether dietary nitrate capsules reduce kidney damage caused by coronary angiography. If successful, the benefits to patients with heart disease would be substantial with reduced rates of kidney damage, less need for treatments such as dialysis and better long term survival.

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