Erythropoietin therapy, hemoglobin targets, and quality of life in healthy hemodialysis patients: A randomized trial

Robert N. Foley, Bryan M. Curtis, Patrick S. Parfrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: The effects of different hemoglobin targets when using erythropoiesis-stimulating agents on quality of life are somewhat controversial, and predictors of change in quality of life in endstage renal disease have not been well characterized. Design, setting, participants, & measurements: Five hundred ninety-six incident hemodialysis patients without symptomatic cardiac disease were randomly assigned to hemoglobin targets of 9.5 to 11.5 g/dl or 13.5 to 14.5 g/dl for 96 weeks, using epoetin-alfa as primary therapy. Patients and attending physicians were masked to treatment assignment. Quality of life, a secondary outcome, was prospectively recorded using the Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQoL) questionnaire at weeks 0, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, and 96, with prespecified outcomes being fatigue and quality of social interaction. Results: The mean age and prior duration of dialysis therapy of the study population were 50.8 and 0.8 yr. Mortality was low, reflecting the relatively healthy group enrolled. Of 20 domains within the KDQoL only the prespecified domain of fatigue showed significant change over time between the two groups. Improvement in fatigue scores in the high-target group ranged from 3.2 to 7.9 over time (P = 0.007) compared with change in the low-target group. Higher body mass index and lower erythropoietin dose at baseline were independent predictors of improvement in multiple KDQoL domains. Conclusions: In relatively healthy hemodialysis patients, normal hemoglobin targets may have beneficial effects on fatigue. Improvement in multiple domains of quality of life is associated with higher body mass index and lower erythropoietin requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-733
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2009


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