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Naturally High Hemoglobin Safe in Dialysis Patients

This subset of patients does not experience greater mortality risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Hemodialysis patients with naturally occurring high hemoglobin levels do not appear to have an increased risk of mortality, according to research published online Dec. 16 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

David A. Goodkin, M.D., of the Arbor Research Collaborative for Health in Ann Arbor, Mich., and colleagues studied 545 (1.8 percent) of 29,796 patients on hemodialysis who maintained hemoglobin concentrations above 12 g/dL over a four-month period without requiring erythropoietic support.

The researchers found that this subset of patients was more likely to be male, to have longer duration of end-stage renal disease, not to dialyze via a catheter, and to have cystic disease as an underlying cause for their renal failure. There was no difference in mortality risk between patients in this subset and other patients. Quality-of-life scores were not higher for this subset than for other patients.

"These data show that naturally occurring hemoglobin concentration >12 g/dL does not associate with increased mortality among hemodialysis patients," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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