While hospitalization is common for hemodialysis patients, perihospitalization associations between hemoglobin levels and epoetin doses are not well characterized. U.S. Medicare claims were used to identify 71,360 hemodialysis patients hospitalized from 1998 to 2003. Hemoglobin levels, epoetin doses, and epoetin responsiveness index (ERI) were compared by calendar year. In the prehospitalization month, the mean hemoglobin levels increased from 10.96/dL in 1998 to 11.76 in 2003 and the mean epoetin doses from 63,715 to 75,012 U; corresponding values in the hospitalization month were 10.53 and 11.19 g/dL, and 66,623 and 80,569 U. In each year, prehospitalization hemoglobin levels were achieved within 2 months, but ERI declined to prehospitalization levels within 12 months only in 2000. With mixed models, hemoglobin declines in the 3 prehospitalization months grew between 1998 (-0.1362 g/dL/month) and 2003 (-0.2003 g/L/month). Epoetin responsiveness index slopes were J-shaped, with values of 287.9, 221.1, and 356.5U/month per g/dL in 1998, 2000, and 2003. In the 3 postadmission months, a modest increase in the rapidity of hemoglobin recovery was seen (+0.2538 g/dL/month in 1998, +0.2743 in 2003), with increasing rates of ERI change (+8.7 U/month/g/dL in 1998, +146.8 in 2003). While time to recovery of prehospitalization hemoglobin levels remained constant year to year, epoetin doses and ERI did not, suggesting that optimum perihospitalization anemia management practices have yet to be determined.
- Renal dialysis