Cardiac function and hematocrit level

John D. Harnett, Gloria M. Kent, Robert N. Foley, Patrick S. Parfrey

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139 Scopus citations


Patients on dialysis have an age-adjusted death rate 3.5 times that of the general population. The most common cause of death in patients on dialysis is cardiovascular disease. We prospectively followed a cohort of 433 patients in three centers for a mean of 41 months. Mean hemoglobin level at the beginning of dialysis was 8.39 (±1.7) g/dL, and the mean hemoglobin level during follow-up was 8.84 (±1.5) g/dL. Using Cox's regression, model, we found that anemia predicted mortality independently of age, diabetes mellitus, cardiac failure, hypoalbuminemia, serum creatinine, mean arterial pressure, or echocardiographic heart disease. The independent relative risk (RR) of mortality was 1.18 per 1.0 g/dL decrease in hemoglobin level. Anemia also independently predicted the de novo occurrence of congestive heart failure when the same covariates were controlled for (RR, 1.49 per 1.0 g/dL decrease). Anemia was also independently predictive of heart failure at the start of dialysis (RR, 1.14 per 1.0 g/dL decrease) and heart failure recurrence (RR, 1.25 per 1.0 g/dL decrease). Left ventricular hypertrophy is present in 75% of patients on dialysis at the start of therapy for end-stage renal disease. It independently predicts mortality. Our prospective cohort study identified increasing age, hypertension, and anemia as risk factors for its development. One controlled study and several uncontrolled studios demonstrated improvement (but not complete regression) of elevated left ventricular mass in patients on dialysis treated with recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S3-S7
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • dialysis
  • epoetin
  • left ventricular hypertrophy


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