Hemoglobin targets and blood transfusions in hemodialysis patients without symptomatic cardiac disease receiving erythropoietin therapy

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and objectives: Optimal hemoglobin targets for chronic kidney disease patients receiving erythropoiesis-stimulating agents remain controversial. The effects of different hemoglobin targets on blood transfusion requirements have not been well characterized, despite their relevance to clinical decision-making. 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 wk using epoetin alfa as primary therapy and changes in left ventricular structure as the primary outcome (previously reported). Patients were masked to treatment assignment. Blood transfusion data were prospectively collected at 4-wk intervals. Results: The mean age and prior duration of dialysis therapy of the study population were 50.8 and 0.8 yr, respectively. Previously reported mortality was similar in low and high-target subjects, at 4.7 (95% confidence interval 3.0, 7.3) and 3.1 (1.8, 5.4) per hundred patient years, respectively. Transfusion rates were 0.66 (0.59, 0.74) units of blood per year in low and 0.26 (0.22, 0.32) in high-target subjects (P < 0.0001). Hemoglobin level at transfusion (7.7 [7-5, 7.91) versus 8.1 [7.6, 8.51 g/dl) were similar with both groups. High hemoglobin target was a significant predictor of time to first transfusion independent of baseline associations (hazard ratio = 0.42; 95% confidence interval = 0.26-0.67). Conclusions: In hemodialysis patients with comparatively low mortality risks, normal hemoglobin targets may reduce the need for transfusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1669-1675
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008

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