Effects of Hemoglobin Normalization with Epoetin in Chronic Kidney Disease
Abstract: Anemia is common in patients with chronic kidney disease (CDK), contributes to reduced Quality of Life (QoL) and is associated with cardiovascular disease, morbidity and mortality. Epoetin raises hemoglobin (Hb) and increases QoL and physical exercise capacity. Because of concerns about safety and economics, current anemia treatment with epoetin aims to achieve subnormal Hb (110-120 g/l). Normalization of Hb may be of additional benefit regarding QoL and cardiovascular effects. The present study examines the effects of Hb normalization with epoetin on safety variables, QoL, graft function after kidney transplantation, dialysis adequacy, hemorheology, hemodynamics and cardiac autonomic function in CKD patients.In a randomized, multicenter study comprising 416 pre-dialysis and dialysis patients no difference was observed between patients treated to a normal or a subnormal Hb level on mortality, thrombovascular events, serious adverse events, vascular access thrombosis and residual renal function. QoL was enhanced in a subgroup of hemodialysis patients. Pretransplant epoetin treatment directed toward normal Hb levels did not result in worse graft function during 6 postoperative months. Dialysis adequacy was reduced in a subgroup of hemodialysis patients after normalization of Hb. The blood flow properties of pre-dialysis patients were altered. The hemorheological investigation demonstrated that Hb normalization caused a parallel increase in hematocrit and blood viscosity without other hemorheological changes. While the total peripheral resistance index increased, the cardiac index (CI) decreased. In a separate study cardiac autonomic function, measured by heart rate variability, was decreased in pre-dialysis patients. It was improved, but not fully normalized, by Hb normalization.On the basis of this study, Hb normalization with epoetin appears to be safe and increases QoL in hemodialysis patients though may result in lower dialysis adequacy and increased blood pressure. A reduction in CI and improved cardiac autonomic function indicate a positive effect on cardiovascular function.
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