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Erythropoietin Improves Functioning in Kidney Disease

Cardiac function and energy levels better for some with disease-associated anemia

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment to increase hemoglobin levels in kidney disease patients with severe anemia can improve cardiac function and quality of life, according to two studies reported in the April 1 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

In one study, Patrick S. Parfrey, M.D., of the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, and colleagues reviewed the literature on left ventricular mass index (LVMi) among patients with anemia (less than 10 g/dL), chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease who were treated with recombinant human erythropoietin to achieve higher hemoglobin levels (greater than 12 g/dL). The researchers analyzed 15 studies involving 1,731 patients and found that erythropoietin improved LVMi for patients with severe anemia.

In the other study, Robert N. Foley, M.D., also of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and colleagues randomly assigned 596 hemodialysis patients to erythropoietin treatment to achieve hemoglobin targets of either 9.5 to 11.5 g/dL or 13.5 to 14.5 g/dL. Quality of life was evaluated using the Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQoL) questionnaire. The high hemoglobin group improved in KDQoL energy and fatigue scores but did not improve in 19 other dimensions.

"Energy/fatigue scores were significantly higher in the high hemoglobin group compared with the low hemoglobin group, and the differences were of clinical significance," Foley and colleagues conclude.

Authors of both studies reported advising and receiving research support from companies that make erythropoietin products: Ortho Biotech, Amgen, and Roche.

Abstract - Parfrey
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Abstract - Foley
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