Current management of anemia in adult hemodialysis patients with end-stage renal disease

Diane L Frankenfield, Curtis A Johnson
American Journal of Health-system Pharmacy: AJHP 2002 March 1, 59 (5): 429-35
The management of anemia in adult end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients receiving hemodialysis in dialysis facilities is examined. Clinical information was collected for a random sample of adult (age > or = 18 years) patients who received hemodialysis for ESRD between October and December 1999 and included hemoglobin concentrations, epoetin alfa doses and routes of administration, iron prescribing patterns, transferrin saturation levels, and serum ferritin concentrations. Patients whose data did not include hemoglobin concentrations with the weekly epoetin dose were excluded from the analysis. Associations by patient characteristics and geographic region were examined for clinical intermediate outcomes and epoetin alfa and iron prescribing practice patterns. Data were submitted for 8154 patients, and hemoglobin values linked to weekly epoetin alfa doses were available for 7573 of those patients. The mean hemoglobin concentration for patients in the sample was 11.4 +/- 1.3 g/dL. Sixty-seven percent of patients had mean hemoglobin values > or = 11 g/dL. Females, blacks, patients 18-44 years old, and patients receiving hemodialysis for less than six months exhibited significantly lower mean hemoglobin values despite being prescribed, on average, significantly higher epoetin alfa doses than males, whites, older patients, and patients receiving hemodialysis for six months or more (p < 0.001). There was significant regional variation in the prescribing patterns for s.c. epoetin alfa and i.v. iron (p < 0.001). Multivariable logistic regression analysis found significant associations between mean hemoglobin values > 11 g/dL and certain patient characteristics, including white race, hemodialysis for six months or longer, lower prescribed weekly epoetin alfa doses, prescription of i.v. iron, mean transferrin saturation levels > or = 20%, mean Kt/V > or = 1.2, and higher mean serum albumin values. Prescribing patterns for i.v. iron did not vary by the status of patients' iron stores. Regional and patient-specific variations in parameters of anemia management provide pharmacists with the opportunity to contribute to a multidisciplinary team approach to improve the care of hemodialysis patients.

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