Erythropoietin, iron depletion, and relative thrombocytosis: a possible explanation for hemoglobin-survival paradox in hemodialysis.
ABSTRACT High doses of human recombinant erythropoietin (rHuEPO) to achieve hemoglobin levels greater than 13 g/dL in patients with chronic kidney disease appear to be associated with increased mortality.
We conducted logistic regression and survival analyses in a retrospective cohort of long-term hemodialysis patients to examine the hypothesis that the induced iron depletion with resultant relative thrombocytosis may be a possible contributor to the link between the high rHuEPO dose-associated hemoglobin level of 13 g/dL or greater and mortality.
The national database of a large dialysis organization (DaVita) with 40,787 long-term hemodialysis patients during July to December 2001 and their survival up to July 2004 were examined.
Hemoglobin level, platelet count, and administered rHuEPO dose during each calendar quarter.
Case-mix-adjusted 3-year all-cause mortality and measures of iron stores, including serum ferritin and iron saturation ratio.
Higher platelet count was associated with lower iron stores and greater prescribed rHuEPO dose. Compared with a hemoglobin level of 12 to 13 g/dL, a hemoglobin level of 13 g/dL or greater was associated with increased mortality in the presence of relative thrombocytosis, ie, platelet count of 300,000/microL or greater (case-mix-adjusted death-rate ratio, 1.21; 95% confidence limits, 1.02 to 1.44; P = 0.03) as opposed to the absence of relative thrombocytosis (death-rate ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence limits, 0.98 to 1.08; P = 0.1). A prescribed rHuEPO dose greater than 20,000 U/wk was associated with a greater likelihood of iron depletion (iron saturation ratio < 20%) and relative thrombocytosis (case-mix-adjusted odds ratio, 2.53; 95% confidence limits, 2.37 to 2.69; and 1.36; 95% confidence limits, 1.30 to 1.42, respectively; P < 0.001) and increased mortality during 3 years (death-rate ratio, 1.59; 95% confidence limits, 1.54 to 1.65; P < 0.001).
Our results may incorporate uncontrolled confounding. Achieved hemoglobin level may have different mortality predictability than targeted hemoglobin level.
Iron depletion and associated relative thrombocytosis might contribute to increased mortality when administering high rHuEPO doses to achieve hemoglobin levels of 13 g/dL or greater in long-term hemodialysis patients. Randomized trials are needed to test these observational associations.
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ABSTRACT: Whether correction of anemia in patients with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease improves cardiovascular outcomes is not established. We randomly assigned 603 patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 15.0 to 35.0 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area and mild-to-moderate anemia (hemoglobin level, 11.0 to 12.5 g per deciliter) to a target hemoglobin value in the normal range (13.0 to 15.0 g per deciliter, group 1) or the subnormal range (10.5 to 11.5 g per deciliter, group 2). Subcutaneous erythropoietin (epoetin beta) was initiated at randomization (group 1) or only after the hemoglobin level fell below 10.5 g per deciliter (group 2). The primary end point was a composite of eight cardiovascular events; secondary end points included left ventricular mass index, quality-of-life scores, and the progression of chronic kidney disease. During the 3-year study, complete correction of anemia did not affect the likelihood of a first cardiovascular event (58 events in group 1 vs. 47 events in group 2; hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.53 to 1.14; P=0.20). Left ventricular mass index remained stable in both groups. The mean estimated GFR was 24.9 ml per minute in group 1 and 24.2 ml per minute in group 2 at baseline and decreased by 3.6 and 3.1 ml per minute per year, respectively (P=0.40). Dialysis was required in more patients in group 1 than in group 2 (127 vs. 111, P=0.03). General health and physical function improved significantly (P=0.003 and P<0.001, respectively, in group 1, as compared with group 2). There was no significant difference in the combined incidence of adverse events between the two groups, but hypertensive episodes and headaches were more prevalent in group 1. In patients with chronic kidney disease, early complete correction of anemia does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00321919 [ClinicalTrials.gov].).New England Journal of Medicine 11/2006; 355(20):2071-84. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Anemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease, usually develops as a consequence of erythropoietin deficiency. Recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin alfa) is indicated for the correction of anemia associated with this condition. However, the optimal level of hemoglobin correction is not defined. In this open-label trial, we studied 1432 patients with chronic kidney disease, 715 of whom were randomly assigned to receive a dose of epoetin alfa targeted to achieve a hemoglobin level of 13.5 g per deciliter and 717 of whom were assigned to receive a dose targeted to achieve a level of 11.3 g per deciliter. The median study duration was 16 months. The primary end point was a composite of death, myocardial infarction, hospitalization for congestive heart failure (without renal replacement therapy), and stroke. A total of 222 composite events occurred: 125 events in the high-hemoglobin group, as compared with 97 events in the low-hemoglobin group (hazard ratio, 1.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.74; P=0.03). There were 65 deaths (29.3%), 101 hospitalizations for congestive heart failure (45.5%), 25 myocardial infarctions (11.3%), and 23 strokes (10.4%). Seven patients (3.2%) were hospitalized for congestive heart failure and myocardial infarction combined, and one patient (0.5%) died after having a stroke. Improvements in the quality of life were similar in the two groups. More patients in the high-hemoglobin group had at least one serious adverse event. The use of a target hemoglobin level of 13.5 g per deciliter (as compared with 11.3 g per deciliter) was associated with increased risk and no incremental improvement in the quality of life. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00211120 [ClinicalTrials.gov].).New England Journal of Medicine 12/2006; 355(20):2085-98. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Elements of malnutrition-inflammation complex syndrome (MICS) may blunt the responsiveness of anemia of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO). The authors examined cross-sectional associations between the required dose of EPO within a 13-week interval as prescribed by practicing nephrologists who were blind to the study and several laboratory values known to be related to nutrition and/or inflammation, as well as the malnutrition-inflammation score (MIS), which is a fully quantitative assessment tool based on the subjective global assessment of nutrition. A total of 339 maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) outpatients, including 181 men, who were aged 54.7 +/- 14.5 years (mean +/- SD), who had undergone dialysis for 36.3 +/- 33.2 months, were selected randomly from 7 DaVita dialysis units in Los Angeles South/East Bay area. The average weekly dose of administered recombinant human EPO within a 13-week interval was 217 +/- 187 U/kg. Patients were receiving intravenous iron supplementation (iron gluconate or dextran) averaging 39.5 +/- 47.5 mg/wk. The MIS and serum concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and lactate dehydrogenase had positive correlation with required EPO dose and EPO responsiveness index (EPO divided by hemoglobin), whereas serum total iron binding capacity (TIBC), prealbumin and total cholesterol, as well as blood lymphocyte count had statistically significant but negative correlations with indices of refractory anemia. Most correlations remained significant even after multivariate adjustment for case-mix and anemia factors and other relevant covariates. Similar associations were noticed across EPO per body weight tertiles via analysis of variance and after estimating odds ratio for higher versus lower tertile via logistic regression after same case-mix adjustment. The existence of elements of MICS as indicated by a high MIS and increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 as well as decreased nutritional values such as low serum concentrations of total cholesterol, prealbumin, and TIBC correlates with EPO hyporesponsiveness in MHD patients.American Journal of Kidney Diseases 11/2003; 42(4):761-73. · 5.29 Impact Factor