Objective: Hepcidin regulates iron absorption and recycling and is central to host defense, protection from reactive iron species, and a biomarker of iron-related pathophysiology. We assessed the value of hepcidin measured preoperatively for the prediction of in-hospital mortality and renal outcomes. Methods: We studied 100 adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery in the control arm of a randomized, controlled trial. Plasma and urine were sampled before induction of anesthesia, and hepcidin-25 was quantified by competitive enzyme-linked immunoassay. Renal outcomes were acute kidney injury defined by risk, injury, failure, loss of function, end-stage renal disease (RIFLE) classification and need for renal replacement therapy. Variables with the potential to influence hepcidin expression were investigated. Results: Low preoperative hepcidin concentration in urine (median, 15.3 ng/mL; 25-75 percentiles, 0-129.1) and plasma (median, 49.2 ng/mL; 25th-75th percentile, 0-52.2) predicted mortality (area under the curve-receiver operating characteristic [AUC-ROC] for urine hepcidin, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.73-0.99; cutoff, 130 ng/mL; sensitivity, 73%; specificity, 100%; and AUC-ROC for plasma hepcidin, 0.90; 95% confidence interval, 0.80-0.99; cutoff, 55 ng/mL; sensitivity, 83%; specificity, 100%). Survivors had median preoperative hepcidin concentrations of 325.3 ng/mL (25th-75th percentile, 120-770.1 ng/mL) in urine and 113.1 ng/mL (25th-75th percentile, 77.7-203.1 ng/mL) in plasma. Preoperative serum creatinine did not predict mortality (AUC-ROC, 0.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.10-0.94). Furthermore, preoperative urine, plasma hepcidin, and serum creatinine did not distinguish patients requiring postoperative renal replacement therapy from those without (urine: AUC-ROC, 0.62; 95% confidence interval, 0.38-0.86; plasma: AUC-ROC, 0.63; 95% confidence interval, 0.34-0.91; serum creatinine: AUC-ROC, 0.61; 95% confidence interval, 0.22-0.99). Preoperative renal function and hemoglobin did not correlate with hepcidin indices whereas plasma markers of inflammation did. Conclusions: Low preoperative hepcidin concentration might be a risk factor for in-hospital mortality. Findings should be validated in larger patient cohorts with a greater number of events.