Patients sometimes suffer acute kidney injuries after major surgery because the kidneys can be deprived of blood flow during the operation, according to background information in the study.
For the research, scientists looked at data from thousands of hospitalized patients who recovered from acute kidney injuries that required dialysis. They compared these patients to a group of hospitalized patients without acute injuries using data collected from patients in Taiwan between 1999 and 2008.
The rate of heart problems in the group with acute kidney injuries was nearly double that of the non-injury group, the study found.
The findings were published recently in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Patients who recovered from acute kidney injuries were 67 percent more likely to have heart problems or die during the study period, whether or not they developed chronic kidney disease, according to a journal news release.
The harmful impact of acute injuries on heart health was similar to that of diabetes, the researchers said.
The findings suggest that proper monitoring and treatment of patients with acute kidney injuries could help protect their heart health, researcher Dr. Vin-Cent Wu, of the National Taiwan University Hospital, said in the news release.
The study is "very provocative and interesting," Dr. Chi-yuan Hsu and Dr. Kathleen Liu, of the University of California, San Francisco, wrote in an accompanying journal editorial. But further research is required to confirm and learn more about the link between acute kidney injuries and an increased risk of heart problems, they said.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about the kidneys.