BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVESThe early identification of acute heart failure (HF) patients with type 1 cardio-renal syndrome should be the first step for developing prevention and treatment strategies for these patients. This study aimed to assess the performance of neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and cystatin C in the early detection of type 1 cardio-renal syndrome in patients with acute HF.DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTSOne-hundred nineteen patients admitted with acute HF were studied. NGAL and creatinine were measured in the first hospitalization morning; creatinine was also measured at least after 48 to 72 hours. Physicians were blinded to NGAL and cystatin C levels. Type 1 cardio-renal syndrome was defined as an increase in the creatinine level of at least 0.3 mg/dl or 50% of basal creatinine.RESULTSType 1 cardio-renal syndrome developed within 48 to 72 hours in 14 patients (11.8%). Admission NGAL levels were higher in these patients: 212 versus 83 ng/dl. At a cutoff value of 170 ng/L, NGAL determined type 1 cardio-renal syndrome with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 86.7%. The area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve of NGAL was 0.93 and that of cystatin C was 0.68.CONCLUSIONSAbove a cutoff value of 170 ng/L, NGAL predicts 48- to 72-hour development of type 1 cardio-renal syndrome with a negative predictive value of 100% and a positive predictive value of 50%. NGAL independently associates with type 1 cardio-renal syndrome and might be a useful biomarker in the early recognition of these patients.